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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 24th July 2014
  #691
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
The software was a synthesizer called "Synchrotron". One preset sequence was used as main theme in Black Hawk Down (which even won an Oscar for sound). The corresponding track on the audio cd is called "Synchrotone".

I bought a Nord Modular at the time (which is HW, but digital as well).
Wow! I must admit i didn't heard for Synchrotron and i was in VST since day one back in 1999. Sold all my hardware synths back then and moved to software.

Nord Modular G1? I think i'll go that route as well. Still undecided. Year ago I bought a Nord Wave. Result: Got addicted to the Nord sound and now want more. Apparently G2 is NL3 engine, kinda polished in sound. But NL2 is pure eargasm! Still can't decide should i go NL2X or G1.
Old 24th July 2014
  #692
Lives for gear
 
m127f's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
I don't get your point. Whoever brought up "only people with special skills (that no-one else here has) can really understand the problem" is the offender. It's yet another deus ex machina that's used as a straw. I just enjoyed making fun of it.
well said.
Old 24th July 2014
  #693
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
How many people voted who've never even owned an OB8? Or even heard one in person? Or own Diva, or even heard it? Or just made a decision based upon what they "think" a real analog synthesizer (and thereby an OB8) and a software instrument are "supposed" to sound like?
There must be also a lot of people, like myself, who did hear a difference, but couldn't decide which synth was hardware and which software and finally didn't vote, as they didn't want just guess. This also speaks very much for Diva.

My ears did prefer the sound of synth A in the test, which turned out to be Diva.

But it's no wonder that it has the better sound:

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. 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
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
Yes, in any one on one comparison we did here, Diva sounded better than its analogue counterparts. Subjectively evaluated by the peeps that were around at the time, during a period of one year or so of tweaking.

That said, many people then missed a bit of that muffled character of aged analogue gear. This was less prominent in the machines we had around at that time, it was more audible in audio examples. Which I then mostly attributed to recording techniques (tape?), which then led to the development of a tape saturation plug-in. So, well, maybe one day we'll add that muffled sound back into Diva as an option.
EDIT: I've highlighted the relevant passages in Urs' posts.
Old 24th July 2014
  #694
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
The old Jupiter 8 sounds like a Jupiter 6 with analoge envelopes.
You mean the filter, or complete synths?
Old 24th July 2014
  #695
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
How many people voted who've never even owned an OB8? Or even heard one in person? Or own Diva, or even heard it? Or just made a decision based upon what they "think" a real analog synthesizer (and thereby an OB8) and a software instrument are "supposed" to sound like?
Well, I don't think that's as problematic as one might think it is. At least not in this context. I don't think the hypothesis of the OP's experiment was, "Diva can sound exactly like an OB8." I think the point was, "Here's some sounds I made with an OB8 and I used Diva to get as close as I could to those specific bread'n butter type sounds. Is it easy to pick out which synth isn't analog?"

So, I've never owned an OB8, or had any direct experience with one. I've heard them in recordings, that's about it. I do, however, own Diva. I was an early adopter. I use it fairly frequently. I do have a few analog synths, but nothing vintage.

I guessed Diva was the first one not based on any tonal cues. In fact, I did the test listening though some very inaccurate V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones. I probably should have gone down in my studio and used good headphones or studio monitors, but I'm packing for a move and that stuff is already boxed up or already at the new place. Anyway, the only thing that kind of tipped me off was the attack characteristics. Diva's seemed very precise, where the OB8's were more... flabby? It might have been the way the patches were programmed, or maybe Urs didn't specifically model the way the OB8s amp stages functioned. Who knows? The short of it is, I wasn't crazy confident with my pick, it was more just a basic hunch. My take-away from this is Diva can get you most of the way to a lot of classic synths, plus a lot more, and won't take up much space in your studio, though, I wouldn't urge anyone else to take that stance who feels any synth is the cornerstone of their sound and loves it.
Old 24th July 2014
  #696
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Leaves View Post
But it's no wonder that it has the better sound...
I didn't think Diva sounded better in this test. I preferred the more natural sound of the OB-8.

For me, those sections of Urs' quotes marked in bold are total marketing hype -- forgivable under the circumstances -- but hype nonetheless.

It's funny. Usually it's the Digi-Warriors running around complaining about analog synth hype.
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Old 24th July 2014
  #697
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
For me, those sections of Urs' quotes marked in bold are total marketing hype -- forgivable under the circumstances -- but hype nonetheless.
To be clear, I think someone else added the bold.
Old 24th July 2014
  #698
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
To be clear, I think someone else added the bold.
I'm aware of that. In fact, when I quoted from those same posts earlier and added bold for emphasis I followed standard editorial procedure and acknowledged the addition. This poster did not. But that's okay, because it conveniently highlights the point I wanted to make.
Old 24th July 2014
  #699
227861
Guest
ugly thread now

This is what happens when someone brings up a digital vs analog thread.

Like I said, I think the OP was trolling, weather he knew it or not.

Kind of surprised by the back and forth between someone from the actual company too. Same thing is going on right now with the DSI thread. What's going on? Did a few guys from different companies decide they wanted to jump into the ring with GS members? I will say it's entertaining.
Old 24th July 2014
  #700
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
I think the point was, "Here's some sounds I made with an OB8 and I used Diva to get as close as I could to those specific bread'n butter type sounds. Is it easy to pick out which synth isn't analog?"
I agree, and I think that's a good point to make. But it seems as though much of the conversation has turned to whether or not Diva (or other software instruments) can emulate certain vintage analogs exactly. Indeed, Urs has expressed confidence in his product's ability to do so.

The fact is, I've had Diva for a few weeks, but wouldn't suppose to be able to identify it in a blind listening test. Nor have I ever had, or even played, and OB8. I wouldn't begin to think that I could identify one or the other just with my ears, especially with recordings that sound so nearly identical.
Old 24th July 2014
  #701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Leaves View Post
There must be also a lot of people, like myself, who did hear a difference, but couldn't decide which synth was hardware and which software and finally didn't vote, as they didn't want just guess. This also speaks very much for Diva.

My ears did prefer the sound of synth A in the test, which turned out to be Diva.

But it's no wonder that it has the better sound:




EDIT: I've highlighted the relevant passages in Urs' posts.
Urs
#668
4 Hours Ago
Quote:
Because I'm not free of confirmation bias either. I would hear a test that I won't like, so why bother?

You forgot this........he's not free of confirmation bias.
Old 24th July 2014
  #702
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I'm aware of that. In fact, when I quoted from those same posts earlier and added bold for emphasis I followed standard editorial procedure and acknowledged the addition. This poster did not. But that's okay, because it conveniently highlights the point I wanted to make.
I've just added a edit remark to my previous post. Sorry that I've forgotten to do so.

You might be a warrior, I am not.

Peace!
Old 24th July 2014
  #703
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
At McGill they teach you to hear slight EQ curve appliance virtually NO ONE can hear before successfully going through their lessons
yes they do, and we did similar tests at USC. However these are the recording arts programs, in the music performance programs we didn't do this. A colleague of mine and McGill grad wrote a piece of software for this very task..
Harman How to Listen
There is a lot of research (myself included) that have been done on peak/dip threshold detection and such... such as
AES E-Library

Quote:
It must be really hard to have those super powers. The beauty of music must be completely lost to those people.
Superpowers? Not really. Experience? Yes. It does pull back the curtain on certain things but in reality good music sounds better! Think about it... to say it must suck to have well trained ears is analogous to saying it must suck to listen through good monitors. As an experienced musician and an engineer this is why it pisses me off when some yahoo on GS is trying to tell me that I can't hear the difference between analog and certain digital emulations such as this test, or that I must be collecting analog synths because someone told me to.
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Old 24th July 2014
  #704
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Leaves View Post
I've just added a edit remark to my previous post. Sorry that I've forgotten to do so.

You might be a warrior, I am not.

Peace!
How very conscientious of you!

The warrior reference wasn't directed at you. Apologies for any confusion.

And no, I'm not a warrior. A defender of my local village, perhaps, but no warrior.
Old 24th July 2014
  #705
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicncars View Post
Urs
#668
4 Hours Ago
Quote:
Because I'm not free of confirmation bias either. I would hear a test that I won't like, so why bother?

You forgot this........he's not free of confirmation bias.
Read my posts, which I wrote before the test result were published and you can read, that I honestly preferred the first synth, which turned out to be Diva. My opinion isn't biased by any marketing hype or by this test's result. My ears just have decided, that Diva had the more musical, natural and better sound, in this test.
Old 24th July 2014
  #706
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
Hehehe, well, we haven't really started from scratch when we built our models, mostly also because we're not EEs. We had to rely on research that others have done before us, so we read papers about transfer curves and effects that people with academic background rated considerable for audio applications.

The actual thing we did was, figure out how SPICE (or, QUCS, which we used) solved non-linear equations and how it does the integration step. Then we applied that method to the equations that were accepted as academic status quo in the field of DSP. In some cases we observed that the outcome was completely wrong, and then we indeed performed our own circuit analysis - until we had a model that behaves well enough.

Once we had the models - which certainly were idealized - we developed "concepts for grit" that we added into those equations to line up our measurements and audible results from the analogue circuits with the results of the computation. That is, we have sat down for months and tweaked 50 parameters that add little offsets here, little offsets there.

Once the difference was below, say, 60dB, the result was within the tolerance level of one unit to another, i.e. the variance between two of those synths were within the error margin of our own solution.

Therefore, we were able to do what SPICE does, in realtime, in a simplified way, yet mathematically correct. The aspects that we had to neglect were modeled by faking them with educated reasoning.

- Urs
And that, Urs, is the difference between the theoretical scientist and the practical engineer! This explanation makes perfect sense, and seems to satisfy the "need" for what I'll call "historical accuracy". It also makes sense(from a man-hours and CPU cycles perspective) to use a more elegant mathematical solution as opposed to the brute-force approach I suggested in my first post. Tuning by ear is a valid approach, since at the end of the day, it's an instrument!


What I've found most enlightening is your idea(?) of removing the sample delay in the feedback network around the filter...this happens in pico/nanoseconds in an analog circuit, and micro/milliseconds in the digital domain, tied to sample rate... in an analog circuit, this stabilizes the circuit, but I get the sense that in a DSP environment, it serves to "smear" the resonance and thus is well-rid of.
Old 24th July 2014
  #707
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Leaves View Post
Read my posts, which I wrote before the test result were published and you can read, that I honestly preferred the first synth, which turned out to be Diva. My opinion isn't biased by any marketing hype or by this test's result. My ears just have decided, that Diva had the more musical, natural and better sound, in this test.
Sorry, I was trying to quote Urs posts. I wasn't directing this towards you.
Old 24th July 2014
  #708
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
especially with recordings that sound so nearly identical.
This has got me thinking that the best way to "legitimize" an instrument is to simply make some music with it and let that speak for itself.

These A/B tests prove nothing. It's like every one I've ever done here at GS has been discredited one way or another by someone. Something is always wrong with the test. Results are always disputed. Nothing is ever conclusive.

Occasionally there's even deceit involved. There was this one guy who made a test and then used multiple user accounts to vote in it and sway the results!

I'm burning out on this. I'm seriously considering retirement from all analog vs digital threads.

Has anyone else noticed that forum members like clusterchord never post in these threads?

That is one wise man, Mr. Clusterchord. He's like... over it.
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Old 24th July 2014
  #709
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
This has got me thinking that the best way "legitimize" an instrument is to simply make some music with it and let that speak for itself.

These A/B tests prove nothing. It's like every one I've ever done here at GS has been discredited one way or another by someone. Something is always wrong with it. Results are always disputed. Nothing is ever conclusive.

Occasionally there's even deceit involved. There was this one guy who made a test and then used multiple user accounts to vote in it and sway the results!

I'm burning out on this. I'm seriously considering retirement from all analog vs digital threads.

Has anyone else noticed that members like clusterchord never post in these threads?

That is one wise man, Mr. Clusterchord. He's like... over it.
A/b tests are fine, before the reveal. Then all the animosity kicks in. Here's my opinion. If you participate, and are wrong...just live with it. If you do not participate, after the reveal, don't participate. Easy.
Old 24th July 2014
  #710
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicncars View Post
A/b tests are fine, before the reveal. Then all the animosity kicks in. Here's my opinion. If you participate, and are wrong...just live with it. If you do not participate, after the reveal, don't participate. Easy.
That's not really what I'm getting at.

I believe... I'm on the brink... of an epiphany.
Old 24th July 2014
  #711
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
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Old 24th July 2014
  #712
Quote:
Originally Posted by draven5 View Post
ugly thread now

This is what happens when someone brings up a digital vs analog thread.

Like I said, I think the OP was trolling, weather he knew it or not.
its not 'trolling' simply to mention 'analogue vs digital'. Unless you didnt realise (or maybe thought you didnt realise) - this test 'is' actually analogue vs digital.

Im a bit suprised you make that suggestion given the content of my posts - and that I even made the effort to upload the patches and audio specifically after you asked.
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Old 24th July 2014
  #713
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I didn't think Diva sounded better in this test. I preferred the more natural sound of the OB-8.
With respect, "more natural" ????

It's a synth, how can it be natural?
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Old 25th July 2014
  #714
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I really want to make one point very, very, clear:

This is the best thread GS has EVER had!

1. This thread actually permanently changed a lot of perceptions

2. This thread should be repeated in a series of ten A/B tests to settle the issue once and for all

3. This thread actually advanced our knowledge of gear and software


URS is totally cool for coming on and explaining the technical issues. Many here are angry at him because he had defeated analogue- pure and simple

Dudes- he is making music better for all of us! Because of him we can buy an analog sound for under $200. A true musician does not want to horde great sound for only the few- we want everybody to have it. If your worried about the future resale value of your analog synths then just sell now and get out before more Diva's are made- because I assure you that they are coming

None of the analog boosters are even considering the possibility that they are imagining a different sound as a result of their beliefs when they sit down at their synth. They seem to believe that they are a superior type of person who is above the laws of psychology and confirmation biases that affect us all. maybe its because they buy expensive gear and see a software as inferior because its cheaper- after all- how can a $170 soft synth match a $5K instrument? But that 5K synth is just electronics- and nothing has changed more than electronics in the past 30 years.

that fact that we are even having this debate is a huge victory for digital. Digital is superior in every other way to analogue by a wide, wide margin. It is cheaper, it can be made as portable as your I-phone, it's sound is totally plastic and you can morph it in ways analogue can't touch (wavetable, FM, etc. etc.), it doesn't rely on tons of circuits that can break down.

Now that digital can match the sound of analog the gap between the two technologies has widened so far that only an insane person would spend thousands on an analog synth when they can get the same sound, more types of sound, portability and reliability from a $170 soft synth.

I am truly waiting for another poll- a 10 series A/B poll. I am asking GS to set this up as soon as possible. Then the analog folks can post their answers. Its time to finish this thing off.
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Old 25th July 2014
  #715
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I picked DIVA as the first because I 'thought' I heard more low harmonics in the 2nd, deciding it might then be the Oberheim. Anyhow, as a lover of both analog and virtual I can only say thanks for both! I do favour my vintage hardware though, because of the physical interaction and the fact that the ladies really like the big beasts. Don't underestimate the joy of playing with synths knobs and faders and keys, etc, instead of a mouse/pad.
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Old 25th July 2014
  #716
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Good Grief y'all are still going with this...and who the F is still voting...???
Old 25th July 2014
  #717
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Eigenwert's Avatar
70:71

the "OB8" answer has been leading by a short margin all the time AFAIK

thus the answer is very stable and does not change any more for larger N

it's so stable it does not even rely on any open question

I guess there is no doubt about the answer, we just don't know what question it relates to
Old 25th July 2014
  #718
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
None of the analog boosters are even considering the possibility that they are imagining a different sound as a result of their beliefs when they sit down at their synth. They seem to believe that they are a superior type of person who is above the laws of psychology and confirmation biases that affect us all. maybe its because they buy expensive gear and see a software as inferior because its cheaper- after all- how can a $170 soft synth match a $5K instrument? But that 5K synth is just electronics- and nothing has changed more than electronics in the past 30 years.
Orrrrrrrrr... perhaps some of us have a **** ton of experience with acoustics, electronic music and synthesizers, and have realized that we prefer the sound of certain analog synths versus software. Why is that so hard to understand? Furthermore, you can't play the bias card beause I have a background in subjective evaluation and have A/B'd synths and software in what is one of the worlds most sophisticated double-blind listening rooms that I was part of designing.

Read if interested...
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=8338

I'm not letting anyone get away with this crap. In most instances I do hear the difference, and many times prefer the analog instrument over the digital device that's trying to recreate it. And I know others do too. I love digital, just not always for recreating analog.
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Old 25th July 2014
  #719
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
None of the analog boosters are even considering the possibility that they are imagining a different sound as a result of their beliefs when they sit down at their synth. They seem to believe that they are a superior type of person who is above the laws of psychology and confirmation biases that affect us all. maybe its because they buy expensive gear and see a software as inferior because its cheaper- after all- how can a $170 soft synth match a $5K instrument? But that 5K synth is just electronics- and nothing has changed more than electronics in the past 30 years.
Im glad you liked the test. Believe it or not - I actually started my tests to explore the differences I heard between my analogue synths and Diva/Monark. Conducting these two tests - has been interesting for me. On one hand - it has shown me that Diva is more accurate than I initially thought - and with proper programming - its very close.

However I think its quite sad that you think its confirmation bias when people with many years of experience with analogue synths say Diva or other softsynths are not totally accurate or they can hear a difference. Its true experience doesnt make you immune to bias - but the accusation of confirmation bias should be the absolute last conclusion to any sort of respectful discussion. This term now days seems to get thrown about a lot - and most absurdly - by people who actually have quite limited real world experience with the devices they are discussing. I do wonder if perhaps the people throwing around accusations of bias are in fact subject to their own powerful bias towards emulations...
Without a very thorough investigation myself - I would never dream of calling someone out as suffering from confirmation bias. However as a result of pretty basic tests - people can immediately make this accusation - which doesnt seem very objective to me...

On several occasions we have had accurate descriptive answers from people like intuitionnyc, Maison Vague, MikeVee and Golden Beers - who both have plenty of analogue experience - pointing out correctly - the differences and getting the poll correct. Its quite interesting to me that some people have not commented on things like that. Or pondered on the percentage of respondants in this poll who had more than 6 months experience with a real analogue synth. Instead you get the confirmation bias schtick from a group who appear very heavily invested in the ITB workflow and limited analogue experience.

The emulations are close - and its not easy to pick them out always - but that doesnt mean some people cannot-or that the differences are not there. I can tell you - I can still hear differences and I'll be exploring them more thoroughly for my next test - so will be interesting to see what comes out of that.
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Old 25th July 2014
  #720
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
I really want to make one point very, very, clear:

This is the best thread GS has EVER had!

1. This thread actually permanently changed a lot of perceptions

2. This thread should be repeated in a series of ten A/B tests to settle the issue once and for all

3. This thread actually advanced our knowledge of gear and software


URS is totally cool for coming on and explaining the technical issues. Many here are angry at him because he had defeated analogue- pure and simple

Dudes- he is making music better for all of us! Because of him we can buy an analog sound for under $200. A true musician does not want to horde great sound for only the few- we want everybody to have it. If your worried about the future resale value of your analog synths then just sell now and get out before more Diva's are made- because I assure you that they are coming

None of the analog boosters are even considering the possibility that they are imagining a different sound as a result of their beliefs when they sit down at their synth. They seem to believe that they are a superior type of person who is above the laws of psychology and confirmation biases that affect us all. maybe its because they buy expensive gear and see a software as inferior because its cheaper- after all- how can a $170 soft synth match a $5K instrument? But that 5K synth is just electronics- and nothing has changed more than electronics in the past 30 years.

that fact that we are even having this debate is a huge victory for digital. Digital is superior in every other way to analogue by a wide, wide margin. It is cheaper, it can be made as portable as your I-phone, it's sound is totally plastic and you can morph it in ways analogue can't touch (wavetable, FM, etc. etc.), it doesn't rely on tons of circuits that can break down.

Now that digital can match the sound of analog the gap between the two technologies has widened so far that only an insane person would spend thousands on an analog synth when they can get the same sound, more types of sound, portability and reliability from a $170 soft synth.

I am truly waiting for another poll- a 10 series A/B poll. I am asking GS to set this up as soon as possible. Then the analog folks can post their answers. Its time to finish this thing off.
Why does this matter to you? At all? How will spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to decide if analog synths have a right to exist and people have a right to like them do anything to make your music more fulfilling? Or prevent a tragedy? Or anything worthwhile?
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