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Analogue vs Digital - Diva and OB8 test Keyboard Synthesizers
View Poll Results: Which synth is First in the 8 bar cycle?
Diva
92 Votes - 51.11%
OB8
88 Votes - 48.89%
Voters: 180. You may not vote on this poll

Old 23rd July 2014
  #391
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I think Lune is on the right track, through family members & running my own niche store in London been involved with lots of various collectors of all sorts of things from antiques to Alien artwork nearly all my life, I see analog synths becoming another niche area of collecting.

There is currently a boom on hunting for collectibles & traveling anywhere for rare items, there are dozens and dozens of reality shows about Pawn shops, restorations, antique hunting driving it, the current analog synth hype should eventually settle into just another area of collection for those serious enough collectors with the capital and drive to find the really rare ones...those purely interested in making tunes will always opt for the most ergonomic and easiest methods - tools available to get the task done...we live in a very time demanding age where it's go go go, I don't see how old analog synths fit into a world spiraling towrads 4 dimensions, nano technology, DNA tweaking and holographs...

Eventually we will have the ability to play any music we want to ourselves by simply calling it up via a matrix style human interface, we'll not need to play silly little keys anymore I shouldn't think..

viva la FUTUR !!
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #392
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Quote:
Roland JD-990 Don Solaris soundset available here
hmmm. I didn't know you made this available. I'm going to buy it for my JD990
Just goes to show a lot of guys aren't analog synth snobs or purists - it's just that they're best at doing analog - something digital is not particularly good at, and something that the majority of people w/ experience w/ analog strongly support.
I even love analog modeling synths for certain things. **** I have a supernova2 rack, jp-8000, and an1x sitting right behind me (proof below!) so I'm definitely not an analog snob... but heck if someones going to tell me that there's some piece of software available today that sounds indistinguishable from an OBX, 4-Voice, Minimoog, P5, SH-5, or even a TB-303 when my wife can usually tell from upstairs..

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Old 23rd July 2014
  #393
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Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
I think then - we are not 'buddies'.

Thats fine if you think converters matter.



but its a bit rude not to mention condescending tone of your post - to say its obvious one way - then say maybe my converters just suck ;-).

Anyways point taken - you now think its the other way around.
if ff400 sound like FF800 it make everything you record sound more sterile making a test like this harder :D

i m not there to say the test is invalid but converters can color the sound a fair amount.
Old 23rd July 2014
  #394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
I think Lune is on the right track, through family members & running my own niche store in London been involved with lots of various collectors of all sorts of things from antiques to Alien artwork nearly all my life, I see analog synths becoming another niche area of collecting.

There is currently a boom on hunting for collectibles & traveling anywhere for rare items, there are dozens and dozens of reality shows about Pawn shops, restorations, antique hunting driving it, the current analog synth hype should eventually settle into just another area of collection for those serious enough collectors with the capital and drive to find the really rare ones...those purely interested in making tunes will always opt for the most ergonomic and easiest methods - tools available to get the task done...we live in a very time demanding age where it's go go go, I don't see how old analog synths fit into a world spiraling towrads 4 dimensions, nano technology, DNA tweaking and holographs...

Eventually we will have the ability to play any music we want to ourselves by simply calling it up via a matrix style human interface, we'll not need to play silly little keys anymore I shouldn't think..

viva la FUTUR !!
The future sounds interesting, for sure. But at the moment, I'm stuck in the present -- not the past (contrary to popular belief) -- the present. And presently, the best way to produce analog sound is by means of analog circuits. Why is that such a difficult thing for people to accept? Because it's less practical and more expensive? So it all comes down to practicality and economics? Practicality and economics should dictate the aesthetic which drives our art?

Sorry, but I'm not buying.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #395
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What's ironic about all this is nothing ages worse than an old piece of software on an outdated computer. An analog synth will be enjoyed in 30 years from now as long as it's well taken care of. These softies, not so much. Long live analog.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #396
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Originally Posted by azone2 View Post
to add to this I do say though that it is more difficult to hear differences sometimes when people do these Gearslutz A/B tests. I really don't know why it is, maybe the sound is oversimplified sometimes or not exhibiting the strengths and weaknesses of both synths being compared..
Possibly because when most of the other variables have been removed, they really sound quite similar to a third party?

This answer matters most to the person thinking "do I need an analogue synth to do what I do?" In most cases, the answer is likely to be no unless there is some aspect of sound design that can't be covered by digital synth + some additional processing.

It's not a satisfactory answer for the person who wants a specific sound in the most direct way possible nor for the person who considers playing and tweaking a synth using separate keyboard and control surface to be wildly different to playing directly on the controls of an analogue synth. Here there are many other concerns than simply: is the sound "right"?

Trying to shoehorn the answer from a test like this into those situations simply leads to the laughable consequence of people saying "the difference between these two things is night and day" followed by "I can't hear it so it must be your converters". This is when the linearity of even an average converter is way down in the 1LSB or less range. The idea that a slightly non-linear conversion leads to such dramatic changes in sound that the much vaunted "life and motion" of an analogue synth suddenly goes AWOL…if that's not facepalm-worthy I don't know what is.

I found the differences to be not obvious (it took a few goes to discern the differences) but definitely there and I don't think listening environment would change that much except perhaps for making it take longer to find the key differences. The rest was just deciding which sounded more like an OB8 – I didn't feel that was particularly difficult, personally. But if I was presented with that audio as-is, I doubt if I would have really thought there was a difference unless I was trying to remix it and then wondered why sections were slightly more modulated or louder than others. The casual listener would most likely think it was just something to do with the arrangement.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #397
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Still half way through building the new modular up, then ....THEN we shall have a analog vs VST contest

Back to soldering about 13,984,333 resistors and crap together.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #398
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Originally Posted by draven5 View Post
What's ironic about all this is nothing ages worse than an old piece of software on an outdated computer. An analog synth will be enjoyed in 30 years from now as long as it's well taken care of. These softies, not so much. Long live analog.
What I also find ironic is that with all the vast possibilities brought to us by modern technology we still insist on using (and modeling) 30 year old synths, because some notorious user made great records with them decades ago. When spending huge amounts of money to vintage synths you basically lock yourself to a certain era and sounds. Trying to justify the cost and being afraid of losing value of your investment you have already chosen your side on analog/digital battle. Does anyone remember when it was the new and futuristic sounds that draw you to the elecronic music in the first place?
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #399
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
...

You could play the revised recordings for 1,000 regular people - not musicians listening to every detail in their headphones - and not one of those people would notice the difference. Not one.
You know, the fun part is that even on this forum (where we are not just casual music consumers) 50% got it wrong - after having been alerted to the fact and even have been told which bars to listen to.

The "analogue is by definition superior" crowd has just lost their last leg to stand on, and what we are seeing in this discussion is the analogue defenders equivalent of monty pythons black knights insistence on continuing a lost fight.





...yeah, go on, bite our legs off, then heh




.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #400
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Originally Posted by azone2 View Post
[edit] to add to this I do say though that it is more difficult to hear differences sometimes when people do these Gearslutz A/B tests. I really don't know why it is, maybe the sound is oversimplified sometimes or not exhibiting the strengths and weaknesses of both synths being compared.. But when you're in the studio and fire these things up and compare a majority of the times it's like night and day...
I would say - when you program Diva or Monark properly - its not so night and day - although with typical softsynths Id agree more...

I think the A/B tests are more difficult for a couple of reasons.

First - A/B test is just a single sound - and our picture in our mind of the analogue sound is built from a large range of sounds when interacting with the synth, over time, as it moves slightly in pitch etc...so we have to make a decision on whether analogue or not from a single snapshot set in a particular way.

The second obvious thing is - its a blind test - so it takes away all our prior triggers and knowledge built up when used to useing the analogue, and preconceptions about the software...which of course makes it much harder and can expose the fact that actually the difference isnt so night and day...this is the point of the blind test...

What would be a really interesting blind test would be to have 2 hardware synths - one with analogue components inside - and one with digital - and see how that turned out in a test...
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #401
Urs
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Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
Diva is not a "virtual Jupiter-8", so if someone wants one of those, they should go elsewhere.

I'd guess that it can very closely emulate many of the sounds you can make with a Jupiter-8. You could probably create patches that are virtually indistinguishable.

I can tell you this, though.... Diva can make about 1,245,739 sounds that you could never, ever make with a Jupiter-8, no matter how hard you tried.
Well, actually, certain parts in Diva were modeled after the very Jupiter-8 (rev 2) that's sitting in our studio. As for previously done comparisons: The JP-8 Rev 2 is obviosuly the revision with the less juicy filters, and if anyone wanted to recreate patches from JP-8 Rev 1, he'd be better off with the Uhbie filter.

The way we went about it was this: We created the analogue model for each component (VCO/VCF/VCA/Envs) based on the circuit schematics. Then we tweaked each of it to sound exactly the same as the vintage synth (JP-8, JP-6, Juno 60, alpha Juno2, 2 x MS-20 (both revisions), Hans Zimmer's Minimoog and our Little Phatty (osc waveforms only). Some vintage synths have identical parts, so we did these only once. Then we matched gains to make modules interchangable.

In a final step, we made each model sound better to our ears. Less "boxy", more "3D", more character. This is especially true for the Uhbie filter which came in later

That's of course controversial and there'll always be someone who begs to differ. But that doesn't really matter. We're certain that Diva sounds better than any of the synths we have used as reference, right here, in our studio.

We could - if we wanted to - do a gazillion A/B tests with the original gear, and we'd pretty surely always "win". There is however not much of a point in this. People who can not believe that Diva sounds as good as analogue won't change their mind. Other people have an advantage IMHO…

Yet of course I'd never part with my vintage gear. The hardware appeal has something towards it, albeit not necessarily the sound.

Cheers,

- Urs
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #402
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I can't really forsee Lune's doomsday prediction for hardware because of this demo.
How many years has Diva been out?
In that time, plenty of analogs have been bought.
If anything, in the long run, Diva will raise interest in the synths it is trying to emulate.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #403
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
And presently, the best way to produce analog sound is by means of analog circuits. Why is that such a difficult thing for people to accept?
The problem is, it isn't so anymore.

As this test clearly shows. People can hear differences between the two synths used, but they can't in fact determine which source is analogue and which is digital.

Conclusion: Digital does analogue sounds just as well as analogue - if programmed correctly (both by the programmer of the software and the sound designer).



However, i will grant you that whatever any individual synth does, analogue or not, it does best.

Meaning that only your JP-4 or your P5 respond exactly like themselves, and their behaviour cannot be duplicated in software (yet?), so if those are the sounds you need for your music they cannot be replaced by anything.
Not even another analogue synth.


It seems that many people here do not distinguish between "analogue sound quality" (which can be reproduced digitally) and the idiosyncracies of a given synth (which afaik, have not yet been reproduced faithfully)...
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
The problem is, it isn't so anymore.

As this test clearly shows. People can hear differences between the two synths used, but they can't in fact determine which source is analogue and which is digital.

Concluson: Digital does analogue sounds just as well as analogue - if programmed correctly (both by the programmer of the software and the sound designer).



However, i will grant you that whatever any individual synth does, analogue or not, it does best.

Meaning that only your JP-4 or your P5 respond exactly like themselves, and their behaviour cannot be duplicated in software (yet?), so if those are the sounds you need for your music they cannot be replaced by anything.
Not even another analogue synth.


It seems that many people here do not distinguish between "analogue sound quality" (which can be reproduced digitally) and the idiosyncracies of a given synth (which afaik, have not yet been reproduced faithfully)...

This test shows, that in this test Diva sounded brighter and punchier for whatever reasons and many people (me included) preferred it.

It does, however, not allow to extrapolate a general conclusion from it.

Here are some examples I found online:

MOOG MINIMOOG VS U HE DIVA - Mp3 Download (3.11 MB)

Listen to the Minimoog vs Diva. The software doesn't stand a chance. And the hardware is brighter as well as more defined/punchier, which is what I would expect and the reason why I first guessed wrong here.

From my experience using nice analog synths as well as good sounding analog drum machines and analog high end outboard the hardware, if in good shape, and the environment being well controlled (good converters and prefereably comparison in the analog domain), practically always wins over plugins, with the difference being obvious and relevant.

Again, notice the qualifiers. A Prophet 08 or Tempest don't qualify as good or nice sounding analog IMO. They're pretty close to plugins. But pair up a vintage Minimoog with a TR-909, and you can tweak 'emulations' all day long and won't get there, ever.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #405
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post

Again, notice the qualifiers. A Prophet 08 or Tempest don't qualify as good or nice sounding analog IMO.
Worst copout ever. heh
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #406
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Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Worst copout ever. heh
?
Old 23rd July 2014
  #407
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I still don't really get the obsession with analogue synths. I get even less the obsession with digital synths that sound exactly like analogue synths.

They have their place, of course, but I see no reason to put them on a pedestal and expend such a lot of effort emulating them and aspiring to be just like them.

What's the point?

D.
Old 23rd July 2014
  #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
?
Sorry, the distinction here is between analogue and not-analogue sound.

The claim is that an analogue synth a priori sounds "better" by virtue of its analogue circuitry, that apparently has qualities that cannot be emulated by digital (according to you analogue defenders).

You can't suddenly say that only some analogues can be used for comparisons as long as you claim that analogue is better than digital at being analogue.

That is your copout.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #409
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post

You can't suddenly say that only some analogues can be used for comparisons as long as you claim that analogue is better than digital at being analogue.
Obviously, because only SOME analogue synths sound "analogue".

Another of the mysteries of this forum...

D.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #410
Ksp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
T
Again, notice the qualifiers. A Prophet 08 or Tempest don't qualify as good or nice sounding analog IMO. T
i agree , more new analogue sound , cleaner and tighter and more like a hybrid of va and analogue to my ears.

i think there needs to be some agreement that old vintage analogue and new analogue do not sound the same which is fine.

Diva ? its a plugin and no matter now good it sounds it does not interest me until its in its own case / hardware and outside the word processor.

I still personally think you can here the word processor mentality in its character
and its pretty pathetic we spend some much time trying to make software sound almost as good as synths did 20 years ago.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #411
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post

I still personally think you can here the word processor mentality in its character
I can perfectly well understand why someone would prefer hardware synths to softsynths, but even so, this is a very odd statement...

D.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #412
Urs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draven5 View Post
What's ironic about all this is nothing ages worse than an old piece of software on an outdated computer. An analog synth will be enjoyed in 30 years from now as long as it's well taken care of. These softies, not so much. Long live analog.
Well, the cost of keeping the hardware alive will outdo the cost of buying whatever succeeds Diva (should that ever happen, hrhrhr). You can buy a new software annually and a new computer every 3 years for the cost of keeping three or four decent vintage analogues alive.

I know what I'm talking about. Whenever we pick one of our 30 analogues up from service, we bring another in need of a tune up.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #413
Urs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
Here are some examples I found online:

MOOG MINIMOOG VS U HE DIVA - Mp3 Download (3.11 MB)

Listen to the Minimoog vs Diva. The software doesn't stand a chance. And the hardware is brighter as well as more defined/punchier, which is what I would expect and the reason why I first guessed wrong here.
Expectation is the right word here. You expect something, hence you want to hear it that way.

I could as well say, "that Minimoog used there does not stand a chance against the one we used to model Diva on. We have a handpicked Minimoog with such a bold quality, there's only a handful in existance that sound as good."

I'll happily admit though that Diva sounds nothing like an unserviced early serial Minimoog.

Yet.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #414
Ksp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
I can perfectly well understand why someone would prefer hardware synths to softsynths, but even so, this is a very odd statement...

D.
its an odd day but i agree.I Personally can Hear in the diva examples an artificially purity , a word processor like quality, all software sounds like software to my ears and its a sound i personally find clinical .Although its coded to emulate analogue it sounds in a very subtle way thats what it is to my ears but could i pick it out in a mix ? not a chance but would i want to use it for pleasure ? not a chance.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #415
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post

It seems that many people here do not distinguish between "analogue sound quality" (which can be reproduced digitally) and the idiosyncracies of a given synth (which afaik, have not yet been reproduced faithfully)...
Well, this is not true really. Most digital synths still alias disastrously, especially on FM or sync sounds. This is a general problem with digital signal processing, that most certainly has not been defeated.

If you run your daw at 192kHz and use lots of oversampling it's better, but takes a lot of processing power.
Old 23rd July 2014
  #416
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Great test and great track! What kick did you use in it if I may ask?
Old 23rd July 2014
  #417
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oden View Post
Well, this is not true really. Most digital synths still alias disastrously, especially on FM or sync sounds. This is a general problem with digital signal processing, that most certainly has not been defeated.

If you run your daw at 192kHz and use lots of oversampling it's better, but takes a lot of processing power.
Again, synth idiosyncracy, not a result of analogue vs. digital.

That some coders provide bad antialiasing does not mean that all have to do it.

Very simply put, this test proves that people can't hear whether a synth sound is digital or analogue - even when they have been told beforehand that one of the sounds is digital.
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Old 23rd July 2014
  #418
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
The future sounds interesting, for sure. But at the moment, I'm stuck in the present -- not the past (contrary to popular belief) -- the present. And presently, the best way to produce analog sound is by means of analog circuits. Why is that such a difficult thing for people to accept? Because it's less practical and more expensive? So it all comes down to practicality and economics? Practicality and economics should dictate the aesthetic which drives our art?

Sorry, but I'm not buying.
I hear what you're saying and as a hardware person I largely agree. Most of my hardware synths are digital though, and I use analogue emulation software also. I love my v-synth and really want a Fizmo.
I want an analogish sound and was tossing up between ms20 mini, Roland System 1, or a Nord Lead. I'll probably go with the NL 2.

I say to each their own - if it works for you, great, all power to you, people 'should' make their own choices, and not put others down because they only use analogue or analogue emulation or soft synths or whatever.

For my needs digital does analogue sounds well enough - interface is a different thing altogether however. My v-synth has the best interface ever IMO
Make music with the instruments you love
Old 23rd July 2014
  #419
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Its funny you say this because when i listened to the clip Swan put up i thought, as i said earlier that the second clip was the OB8, but also to my ears the first clip as well as being bright sounding the envelope snap was quite unlike an Oberheim (which are generally a bit lumpy sounding) and reminded me of a JP8

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
Well, actually, certain parts in Diva were modeled after the very Jupiter-8 (rev 2) that's sitting in our studio.
Old 23rd July 2014
  #420
Goddam it I voted on this poll yesterday but didn't comment and can't remember what I voted - I think I put Diva first.
Has it been answered yet (can't be bothered combing through 14 pages of posts)? Great testament to Diva though - one great sounding VST.
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