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Should i buy a hardware or software synth?
Old 31st August 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 

Should i buy a hardware or software synth?

I'm finding it hard to make up my mind between buying a new laptop that can handle Omnisphere or a good workstation like kronos. I just love omnisphere but it always glitches out (i like to use many chanels) so it looks like i need a super fast computer to run omnisphere how i like to use it (i've got an i7 1.6ghz (virtual 8 core).....so do i spend $3400 on a kronos or spend that on a kick ass laptop that won't crash with omnisphere?

Last edited by Don Solaris; 31st August 2011 at 12:19 PM.. Reason: be precise in your topic next time!
Old 31st August 2011
  #2
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John_Seward's Avatar
 

don't buy kronos (!). i just don't get it, why go the workstation route today? buy a powerful computer instead. and don't buy a laptop, buy mac pro. :D
Old 31st August 2011
  #3
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studiomood's Avatar
 

I would advise for the laptop, as your going to have to get one later down the track regardless. Getting a better laptop is going to improve your options for the future, where the keyboard/workstation will be a somewhat confined choice.

Not only will you be able to run fantastic software like omnisphere but your going to have the option to expand your software arsenal with better processing ability for the future.

I think seeing as the computer is really at the heart of making music, (for people who don't purely rely on analogue sequencers etc) generally it's very important to have something to handle more complex mixes.
Old 31st August 2011
  #4
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Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkmata View Post
i've got an i7 1.6ghz (virtual 8 core)
That's a rather pitiful speed. What's the rest of the specs like - are you using an SSD drive, have you maxed out the RAM, etc.

Quote:
.....so do i spend $3400 on a kronos or spend that on a kick ass laptop that won't crash with omnisphere?
Omnisphere and the Kronos simply do different things and have different purposes.

Spending the same on a laptop as you spend on a Kronos would be insane. It makes more sense to upgrade every 2-3 years and spend half of that than to buy something really expensive and then expect it to last 6 years or more, because it won't.

That i7 you have is recent enough, just not powerful enough. Is that purely your DAW or do you do everything with it - games, internet, etc?
Old 31st August 2011
  #5
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blinky909's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Seward View Post
don't buy kronos (!). i just don't get it, why go the workstation route today? buy a powerful computer instead. and don't buy a laptop, buy mac pro. :D
the infinite upgrade spiral will get you. a piece of hardware that works today will work in 20 years. the laptop will be obsolete before i finish typing this sentence.
Old 31st August 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Have to agree with Yoozer, the workstation features would probably be redundant if you're working with a computer also. One thing I will question is why choose a laptop? If you're considering a large keyboard such as the Kronos then that says to me you're not mobile, so why not get a desktop computer which will be cheaper and more powerful?
Old 31st August 2011
  #7
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FUBAR's Avatar
 

$3400 for the Kronos

$1500 for a powerful PC with a good sound card.
(PC can be self built for less)

Quote:
I just love omnisphere
Easy one to answer
Old 31st August 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
Hardware.
Old 31st August 2011
  #9
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
have you maxed out the RAM, etc.

Is that purely your DAW or do you do everything with it - games, internet, etc?
yes i do do everything with it, i knows thats probably bad, I've got 6 gig ram....thought that would have been enough and i'm not sure about the hard drive. What would you suggest? as in specs of a laptop (i want it to be for stage use aswell....i guess i could lug a mac pro around as they are one complete unit.
Old 31st August 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Screw both of 'em. I have some magic beans for sale.
Old 31st August 2011
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaytranzmit View Post
that says to me you're not mobile, so why not get a desktop computer which will be cheaper and more powerful?
Maybe i was dreaming, i thought the kronos looked sort of portable but i havent seen it in real life yet! But yes i would like portable.....i guess that helps with the answer! software sounds like the go! So thats why i thought id need to spend around 3.5 thousand on a kick ass laptop
Old 31st August 2011
  #12
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WhiteRhino's Avatar
 

Get a macbook (pro), then if possilbe grab a hardware synth. The comparison between the two are similar to that of a mexican Telecasters and a American telecaster deluxe; the difference is primarily intangible but it's there despite what a cheap mans logic tells you.
Old 31st August 2011
  #13
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lysander's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteRhino View Post
Get a macbook (pro), then if possilbe grab a hardware synth. The comparison between the two are similar to that of a mexican Telecasters and a American telecaster deluxe; the difference is primarily intangible but it's there despite what a cheap mans logic tells you.
In the case of guitars though the difference primarily comes from production and QA margins - you can find amazing mexican teles and completely awful ones, whereas the american ones tend to be a bit more consistent.
Digital hard or soft synths being made of bits tend not to vary much from a serial number to another Although apparently analog ones can have their "own" sound due to component values margins as well.
Old 31st August 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
You should not need to spend 3.5 K on a laptop, spend half of that and youll still get one hell of a laptop, spend the rest on a nice synth.
Old 31st August 2011
  #15
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Susceptor's Avatar
 

I spent around 1200$ on my current laptop. Core i7 (quad core + hyperthreading) @ 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM @ 1333 MHz, 500 GB HDD @ 7200 RPM, NVidia GT525M w/ 1GB VRAM. I had a Firebox in the past, but my laptop doesn't have a firewire port so I also bought a Focusrite Saffire 6. Everything runs smooth for me (using Reaper as a DAW).

I really think the software route would give you more options.
Old 31st August 2011
  #16
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
I have no idea why, in today's world, one would want a work station keyboard unless they're a touring musician who needs to use it to compose on the road... and even then I'd question it.

I also wonder why you'd want to use lots of channels of Omnisphere. Don't get me wrong, I have it and it's great, but unless it's your only softsynth it seems silly to use it for more than a track or two. It's really best for complex sample manipulated sounds that already tend to dominate. If you're software bound there are a bunch of great sounding VST VAs that are light on CPU/RAM that'll take care of all your bread and butter sounds... and more.

So I wouldn't get either... I'd pick up maybe Poly-ana, Sawer, etc and be done with it. Using Omnisphere for everything is like using different hot peppers for all your ingredients.
Old 31st August 2011
  #17
roc
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Please , go to the store with a pair of headphones and try out difference synths for yourself .

Omnisphere is great but remember it's not a Daw , so you would still need
Logic , Pro Tools or something like that , with a midi controller .

here are 2 questions you need to ask your self .

1. Do you plan to do live shows and travel or is this just for studio ?

because if you plan on traveling you may not want to be connecting your laptop midi controller and what ever else .
There's nothing better than having one good quality instrument with all your sounds you just connect and play.
More and more people are starting to use laptops live , especially in EDM . What type of music to you make ?

2.What is your long term goal for your music ?

do you want to recored and arrange hundreds of songs with deep editing and arranging ,
if so then nothing on the planet can beat a computer and a DAW but you will never get a true hands on feeling that you get from a real hardware synth that was designed from the ground up to make music !
With most hardware synths today every thing is there and laid out for you and it also free's you up from the computer so you can focus on your music and not the mouse
(you know like a real musician ) but the DAW software path is a great way to save money and get a great sound so choose what's more important to you .
Hardware synths can be expensive but worth every penny if it gives you the results and workflow that a computer could never do .


One more thing be carful with marketing hype , like Korg and it's 9 synth engines because that won't mean noting if it simply doesn't make the sounds that you like . So check them all out . Also the Kronos has had complaints of QC issues so do your research .

Now if your into making your own sounds and designing your own sounds and want to do some very deep editing then you should check out the Kronos .

but if you want all of the bread and butter sounds right out of the box ready to recored right away then you should check out the Yamaha Motif XF (most live pro's seem to use the Motif ).

And if you want to be a gearslut you could always get a Roland Jupiter-80 with a mac i7 running logic with Omnisphere ,Komplete and a SSL Nucleus with a Nuwmen tube Mic (DONE) .

Good luck .
Old 31st August 2011
  #18
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sftd's Avatar
 

Just to add, at load your processor clocks up to 2.8ghz and is more than enough power for any modern music software including Omnisphere.

Sent from my PC36100 using Gearslutz.com App
Old 31st August 2011
  #19
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

I think you should buy neither. At least not until you try something else.

Wasn't Omnisphere released a few years ago? Isn't an i7 quite a modern, powerful processor? I think your current PC should be perfectly capable of handling the load.

Maybe you should try instead to find out why Omnisphere does not work on your PC? Could it be your DAW latency settings? Or your audio interface drivers - are they updated? Is your OS optimized for realtime audio work?

I don't own Omnisphere, but I have a six year old PC with an AMD Athlon64 X2 4400+ (2.2 GHz, dual core) with 2 Gb in RAM, and I have no problem running a bunch of softsynths and plugin fx in Sonar 7 under Windows Vista 32-bit.
Old 31st August 2011
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I have no idea why, in today's world, one would want a work station keyboard unless they're a touring musician who needs to use it to compose on the road... and even then I'd question it.
I bought a new top of the line PC in 1999, the same year I bought a Triton Classic. The PC has been in a dump heap for 10 years, along with all its software. That's the thing about computers and software, its disposable in a few years. The Triton has decent 88 weighted keys, and feels good to play on. With the moss, classical piano and techno cards, a mint one goes for close to USD $1000. Totally playable to this day and the forseeable future. Same thiing with any computer vs workstation on the market today, imho.

Just considering the economics, a work station can make sense as a long term investment if you play piano or anything with weighted keys - especially a used one.

As for actually IMHO good sounding gear that's fun to play, just about any one of the 12 or so new $1000 analogue VCO mono synths on the market can be a good deal in the long term.
Old 31st August 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Susceptor View Post
I spent around 1200$ on my current laptop. Core i7 (quad core + hyperthreading) @ 2.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM @ 1333 MHz, 500 GB HDD @ 7200 RPM, NVidia GT525M w/ 1GB VRAM.

Exactly, you don't need to spend 3500 on a laptop when you can get something like an i7 and with more ram for half as much.

Spend the rest on hardware.
Old 31st August 2011
  #22
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DoctorG's Avatar
 

I'll vote for hardware with a preference for analog
Old 31st August 2011
  #23
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Diametro's Avatar
 

You haven't really stated why you want a Kronos ...

Do you actually play keys or are you hoping to become better ... ??? (You don't need a Kronos for either ... )

While the Kronos is a nice instrument, a recent demo really killed my GAS because I already have a great workstation that pretty much does all of the above ... Aside from some suspect build quality, Kronos is great but doesn't really do anything new, just a bit better perhaps ... (There are MANY used and reliable workstations that can sound as good in the "final analysis ... " )

I would look into buying a used workstation locally (hopefully) at a nice price ... If you don't like it, you can always re-sell and not lose any money ...

Personally, what I think is overhyped is the emphasis placed on tools ... Knowledge of how to create and sculpt sound is more important ... Learning the tools you have to create music is more important ...

But at some point you do have to purchase, commit and learn your instruments and recording environment ...

Sounds like you have a little more money that the realization of where you want to be/go ... Which is fine ... We all go through that ... I had to buy and sell quite a few synths to get where I am ... which is a very stable lineup of hardware, NI Maschine and my Mac for recording ... (last synth purchased was two years ago, a JP8 ... )

Good luck ... And feel free to ask more questions ...
Old 31st August 2011
  #24
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

yeah very true

A computer of the same vintage as some synths/workstations is just about worthless, due to Moore's law of processing power doubling every few years....

If you wait 1 year you can buy today's latest computer for half the price
Old 31st August 2011
  #25
Kronos is a waste, a good daw with good software and a fast processor is limitless, any fx, in any order, no limitations. I do not recommend over priced workstations with weird interfaces. I'm not sold on the kronos sound at all from the demos.

I have tweaked windows 7 64 to where i get my buffers at 128 so latency is only a couple of ms, and that is fine for what i write.
Old 31st August 2011
  #26
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
I bought a new top of the line PC in 1999, the same year I bought a Triton Classic. The PC has been in a dump heap for 10 years, along with all its software. That's the thing about computers and software, its disposable in a few years.
I'm not disagreeing with you, but... you dumped a top-of-the-line PC after only two years of use? Along with all its software? I'm sorry but I just find that totally wasteful and aberrant. Or maybe you were just being figurative.

I firmly believe that a decent PC can easily last you at least 5 years. Most software can be used in newer PCs as long as the OS supports it (many 10 year old Windows programs still run under Windows 7).

I have several PCs at home, the oldest of them about 8 years old, and I still find it useful. If the day comes when I don't need it anymore, and if it's still working, I'll just give it away to one of my nephews for school work and web browsing... but I wouldn't just dump it into the trash bin.
Old 31st August 2011
  #27
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CoolColJ's Avatar
 

remeber to recap the PC motherboard though

Never skimp on a PC motherboard if you intend to keep it for a long time
I once tried to sell an old PC motherboard, and I had to refund someone, because they noted the bulging caps
Not a surprise since it tends to me on for long periods of time in a hot enviroment
Old 1st September 2011
  #28
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cdog's Avatar
1. Take 2 hours to research how to assemble a desktop computer. If you are physically dextrous enough enough to assemble a basic set of legos, and have the intelligence to use an Automated Teller Machine, this should be easy.

2. Go on newegg.com and buy all your parts for $1000 or less.

3. Take the $2500 you saved from buying a Kronos and put it in the bank.

(laptops are cool, but you cant get the same level of value or performance as building a desktop by hand)

Old 1st September 2011
  #29
Gear Head
 

Some great info there! Ok so no i don't play keys much, this way of thinking came about after playing with my kaossilator pro, but then i realizing pretty quickly that the sounds were not good enough and i wanted more control of notes and synth parameters, thats why i want to up the game......i really like to build my music from scratch with acoustic instruments and add layers without stopping, thats why the kaossilator is good which i use along side my 2xkaoss pad 3's....i like for music to write itself. I use omnisphere sometimes but it usually turns out into computer failure!
Ok so i havent been gigging like this but i'm taking time to build a setup that is right for me. I absolutely love ableton which is my DAW aswell...i control that with an apc40 so it's really easy to record loops and change them seamlessly, especially with midi with the OVR button on which adds notes in the loop, if you stuff up you can just press undo!

I guess the majority on this thread say that a desktop is the go, which does seem like a great idea, but i really do need a portable solution... well then maybe i could spend as suggested left over money on a cheaper workstation found for half price to replace the kaossilater pro....well actually id probably need to keep the kaossilator as a looper pedal for the synth, for it doesn't seem like any synths have a similar 4 bank loop setup.
Thats why i'm thinkin laptop with ableton and a midi controller could minimize setup time.
I have spent alot of money on my last 2 laptops ( ihave a macbook pro aswell as an HP i7) But they just arent fast enough for the way i use many layers of omnisphere and have other vst's and audio running in ableton. I don't want to make anymore expensive mistakes....i don't know if a 3ghz i7 or something like that laptop is going to do the job (which seems to be in the $3000 mark)
Old 1st September 2011
  #30
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sftd's Avatar
 

uh, I'm not sure where this got lost along the way, even with yourself, but..

USE THE COMPUTER YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY ANOTHER ONE IT IS NEW AND MODERN AND FAST.

So, one more time to be clear, you can stop figuring in the money for a new computer because you have a new computer.
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