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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 26th July 2014
  #961
Urs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
For me the most interesting part about this discussion is the notion that DIVA sounds "better" than genuine analog.

Personally, I find it too clean. Too perfect. Too idealistic. This doesn't mean it can't get the job of making music done. Of course it can! But that contrived ITB sound is just not for me.
I would never say "Diva sounds better than analogue". That would really be a confusing idea. I only ever said that we tweaked the parts to sound better to *us* than the parts we had for reference. This of course were subjective choices.

#---

Now, I've been in the softsynth business for quite a while. Much of the olden days I was distracted by an mp3 that allegedly was done with a Virus, and no softsynth could ever touch that sound. Not even a Virus. I even bought a newer model to prove that it was impossible to match that sound with a synth alone. In the end it turned out to be a demo for a brickwall limiter rather than a synthesizer.

However, shortly thereafter, say, in 2006, I started to seriously follow the analogue vs. softsynth debate. The criteria to go by were "analogue sounds more rich and 3D", "has more snappy envelopes", "has more bottom", "distorts nicer" as well as a handful of even more esoteric attributes that make analogue pwn digital. I didn't believe a single word.

So I went out and bought analogue synths to prove them wrong. This idea however failed. Analogue synths indeed had those attributes, so I had to honestly revert my opinion. That was around 2009, and I posted my decsion to make things right for the softsynth world.

In 2010 we started serious work on Diva. At the end of 2011 we first published the results, and we were confident that for "analogue sounds more rich and 3D", "has more snappy envelopes", "has more bottom", "distorts nicer" we had succeeded.

Ever since, when people talk about analogue, they talk about something else. At first they talked about the more aggressive distortion that modern analogues offer. Then they talked about the sizzle of CEM chips (whch Howard hates, and which we therefore never modeled). And now they talk about the beauty in humm, glitches and other things that we were very happy not to model.

To me it occurs as if the original challenge was dropped, and new rules were put in place. Nevermind, I slowly come to the conclusion to be okay with that. I don't necessarily agree, but I'm happy to accept that this stuff is important to some. Maybe one day we'll re-evaluate things and do what's necessary to shift the paradigm yet again.

But for now, peeps at u-he are all over FM and filters that one can't do in analogue
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Old 26th July 2014
  #962
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
As you probably know, to this day I still actually enjoy programming FM synths, and I love the sounds they make. I have never, however, tried to persuade anyone else that my way is superior.

When choosing your colours for your artistic creation, it does not do to be dogmatic.
I'm not trying to persuade anyone.

And I just added a DX-7IID to my studio a few months ago.

You're mistaking my personal aesthetic for dogma.
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Old 26th July 2014
  #963
Bio
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Quote:
My point earlier, though, wasn't about instability and aging components but about the inherent uniqueness of analog instruments. When Urs mentioned earlier that Hans Zimmer had four Minimoogs, but sent his "favorite" to be modeled, how could he have a favorite if they're all Minimoogs? Don't they all sound like Minimoogs? So why a favorite? (Rhetorical questions, of course. I know you know the answer )
It's very easy to do the same thing with digital, but it's true that it is not a common feature of digital synth.Some Mutable Instrument do this, there is a random algorithm that make each one unique (MI Braids):
Quote:
SIGN applies glitches/waveform imperfections to the output signal. The exact behavior of this option is unique to each module built.
Old 26th July 2014
  #964
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Eigenwert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
The question "is Diva or the OB-8 responsible for the first 4 bars in a piece of music" was to undefined?

Yeah, i can totally see that
Yeah, and it was you who brought up the issue that the question may have been to undefined, as you clearly said before it was your impression that this test was not about hearing differences but about "attributing the heard differences to analogue or digital sound" which obviously is something very different:

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Again, this is not a test about hearing differences - this is a test that asks us to attribute the heard differences to analogue or digital sound.
Old 26th July 2014
  #965
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I'm not trying to persuade anyone.

And I just added a DX-7IID to my studio few months ago.

You're mistaking my personal aesthetic for dogma.
In your case, I am completely certain that this is true.

However, since I joined this forum, I have been told (not by you) that that only analogue synths are real synths, that the forum should only consider analogue synths to be "on topic", and even that somebody had no interest in discussing any synths that were made after 1983.

That is pretty dogmatic, I think.

D.
Old 26th July 2014
  #966
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
In your case, I am completely certain that this is true.
I'm relieved to hear that!

I love my DX-7II!
Old 26th July 2014
  #967
Urs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
I love my DX-7II!
I can relate to that. The TX81z blew me away almost as much as the 800dv when I heard it for the first time.
Old 26th July 2014
  #968
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
And now they talk about the beauty in humm, glitches and other things that we were very happy not to model.

To me it occurs as if the original challenge was dropped, and new rules were put in place. ...
It is a bit absurd, isn't it?

I think you're right not to worry about it -- at least not for now. The desire to satisfy everyone is noble -- but ultimately impossible.
Old 26th July 2014
  #969
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danielb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
It is a bit absurd, isn't it?

I think you're right not to worry about it -- at least not for now. The desire to satisfy everyone is noble -- but ultimately impossible.
This is all stuff that people were happy to see the back of 30 years ago.

I think the difference might be that today, with the huge variety of options available, noise and glitches are a something that you choose, rather than something that you are forced to deal with. Even tape hiss gets emulated nowadays, but again, it's perfectly controllable, and optional; used as an effect.

Truly a golden age...

D.
Old 26th July 2014
  #970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synth Buddha View Post
After all, numerous people could hear a difference
Yeah, they heard the differences - but what they couldn't was attribute these differences to the correct synth heh
Old 26th July 2014
  #971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
Yeah, and it was you who brought up the issue that the question may have been to undefined, as you clearly said before it was your impression that this test was not about hearing differences but about "attributing the heard differences to analogue or digital sound" which obviously is something very different:
Ah yes, of course - totally different.
Old 26th July 2014
  #972
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
That was certainly a welcome relief from the debate on statistics!

Thanks for posting!
My pleasure. Think of me as the piano player over in the corner of the room, providing some musical entertainment during the discussion.
Old 26th July 2014
  #973
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grumphh, if science is not your cup of tea - no problem. Just stop making comments about that, then, as you obviously never have been involved into any test design and the problems one may face (often leading to a re-design of a test after the test had been supposed to be finished).
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Old 26th July 2014
  #974
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
grumphh, if science is not your cup of tea - no problem. Just stop making comments about that, then, as you obviously never have been involved into any test design and the problems one may face (often leading to a re-design of a test after the test had been supposed to be finished).
Yeah, i guess swan808 should program Diva to sound a bit more like a softsynth to bring the desired results
Old 26th July 2014
  #975
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Last edited by Musicncars; 26th July 2014 at 01:27 PM.. Reason: I need to stay on topic.
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Old 26th July 2014
  #976
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Eigenwert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Yeah, they heard the differences - but what they couldn't was attribute these differences to the correct synth heh
Why won't you just stop making baseless assumptions about the question whether the voters where not able to tell a difference at all or whether they were not able to link the differences to the sound source. Repeating the same ungrounded words over and over again won't make a statement true. Especially as it all has been explained to you over and over again. The fact that the crowd failed to tell which is which doesn't allow us to tell where they failed of why or if 100% of the individuals would fail to get significant hit rates in a test with a large amount of samples that one had to rate individually.
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Old 26th July 2014
  #977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Yeah, i guess swan808 should program Diva to sound a bit more like a softsynth to bring the desired results
Within science there is no such thing as a desired result. For home recording guys (like me) the desired result is that DIVA can actually fully replace an OB8 (as I don't have one or any other analogue poly synth).

May I kindly ask you not to spread your personal prejudice about my personal desires or aims you don't know anything about. Thank you.
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Old 26th July 2014
  #978
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urs View Post
Ever since, when people talk about analogue, they talk about something else. At first they talked about the more aggressive distortion that modern analogues offer. Then they talked about the sizzle of CEM chips (whch Howard hates, and which we therefore never modeled). And now they talk about the beauty in humm, glitches and other things that we were very happy not to model.

To me it occurs as if the original challenge was dropped, and new rules were put in place. Nevermind, I slowly come to the conclusion to be okay with that. I don't necessarily agree, but I'm happy to accept that this stuff is important to some. Maybe one day we'll re-evaluate things and do what's necessary to shift the paradigm yet again.
But I am sure you'll understand that for some you'll just never get it right. Analog synthesizers are like a religion to these people and no matter what you do, they will never be satisfied with software. And a lot of them (but not all, so don't throw stuff at me) are more about tweaking than playing in the more traditional sense. You're just not going to make them happy with anything other than a hardware interface anyway, regardless of the sound.
Old 26th July 2014
  #979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
Why won't you just stop making baseless assumptions about the question whether the voters where not able to tell a difference at all or whether they were not able to link the differences to the sound source.
Because the numbers say so heh

50/50 is a pure random distribution.

...as for desirable or not results - from what i can see a certain segment of this forum certainly finds the results of this test very undesirable
Old 26th July 2014
  #980
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
But I am sure you'll understand that for some you'll just never get it right. Analog synthesizers are like a religion to these people and no matter what you do, they will never be satisfied with software. And a lot of them (but not all, so don't throw stuff at me) are more about tweaking than playing in the more traditional sense. You're just not going to make them happy with anything other than a hardware interface anyway, regardless of the sound.
I have a ton of software synths, I have a ton(almost literally, they are heavy) analog synths, there is a place in music for both of them. I must admit, I would much rather tweak a knob, not a mouse to program sounds, but this thread was a test to see if we could figure out which was first, it had nothing to do with one being better than the other one. Just my perspective. But, besides, the analog digital debate, it would be hard to please everyone, anyway. Everyone's a critic.
Old 26th July 2014
  #981
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicncars View Post
...but this thread was a test to see if we could figure out which was first, it had nothing to do with one being better than the other one.
I know, but I was responding to Urs' comment that he feels like the rules were changed on him after he released Diva. I am assuming he is talking about the synth world at large, and not just this thread. I am also referencing the entire universe of synth players, not just this thread, or even this forum.
Old 26th July 2014
  #982
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Keep in mind that people were told to look for a difference every 4 bars - right from the outset.

Had the test included switching synths every 4 bars, but the participants were told something different, the results would've been far different, and more revealing
Old 26th July 2014
  #983
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
I know, but I was responding to Urs' comment that he feels like the rules were changed on him after he released Diva. I am assuming he is talking about the synth world at large, and not just this thread. I am also referencing the entire universe of synth players, not just this thread, or even this forum.
There are elitists among us, analog snobs, digital snobs, all kinds. News flash. Software based synthesizers are not going anywhere, Urs, should be happy, that his are standing out, and not worry about anything else. Just focus on what he's doing, because, it sounds like it's working. While it's great to keep thinking about improvements, you always want to make your product better, just don't get caught in a rut, where you overthink, or second guess yourself.
Old 26th July 2014
  #984
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
This is all stuff that people were happy to see the back of 30 years ago.

I think the difference might be that today, with the huge variety of options available, noise and glitches are a something that you choose, rather than something that you are forced to deal with. Even tape hiss gets emulated nowadays, but again, it's perfectly controllable, and optional; used as an effect.

Truly a golden age...

D.
Personally I find it so uninspiring to add things like that afterwards. it kills my inspiration and I agree with boards of canada that once said this:

"I think the digital world suffers from being just so literal, so deliberate and sober. As with digital photography, people have gotten used to applying simulated filters onto their pictures just to inject a bit of romance into the thing, because the raw pictures are so flat. But in the analog realm these beautiful things just happen by themselves without your conscious effort. You could say the wobbles and flutters in our music are equivalent to something like weeds overgrowing an old building. Nobody puts the weeds there, but nature comes along and makes the scene very tragic and beautiful".
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Old 26th July 2014
  #985
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoozer View Post
Poll is effectively irrelevant since you can now see the outcome and vote like you knew it all along. Hence the screenshot of the people who originally did their guesses.

Interestingly, the majority of added votes since that screenshot still identify the OB8 as first, so I guess a). Most GSers participating in this poll are pretty honest and b). That Diva patch really sounds fantastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Another one who could easily be responsible for the early retirement of more than one science/math teacher... heh

Again, this is not a test about hearing differences - this is a test that asks us to attribute the heard differences to analogue or digital sound.
And that is where people failed.
Flawed logic with condescension thrown into the mix is always so charming. I think it's been well established that people's concept of what defines the difference in analog and digital sounds is pretty varied. So if this was a test to see how close Diva could get to an OB8 in absolute terms, Eigenwert was correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
The way of testing only works for well-defined questions. Define what a analogue or digital was of sounding is. Otherwise you are very likely to get close to a 50:50 result, as one might think "brighter = more digital" and the other might think "brighter = more defined = better = analogue".

The less well-defined the question, the more likely the chance to be close to a 50:50 result as there is one to understand the question one way for anyone thinking something completely different had been meant.
The test reveals no pattern on actual differences present in the sounds. Whatever that pattern may be, it is obscured by the extra layer of variation thrown in by people's subjective and complex expectations of what a plugin or a vintage analog synth should sound like. This is among the things Eigenwert referred to as hidden variables, and results in a phenomenon known as confounding by statisticians wherein conclusions drawn from test results cannot be judged as accurate because of hidden effects that cannot be separated from the variables explicitly studied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
Because the numbers say so heh

50/50 is a pure random distribution.
50/50 is a distribution that you cannot distinguish from random. That doesn't make it random. It could be random, or you could have blinded your analysis by excluding important variables or setting up a test where the variables are only vaguely or poorly defined (ie the variable is actually a composite of many other discrete variables with non-correlated distributions).

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
...so now the test was flawed?

The question "is Diva or the OB-8 responsible for the first 4 bars in a piece of music" was to undefined?

Yeah, i can totally see that
IF you want a rigorous analysis that assesses absolute perceived difference between the recordings, that question is too vague for reasons already explained to you. It would be better to start with sound examples identified, then blindly match new examples to either instrument.

I'll concede that this is a fair enough demonstration that nobody's likely to boycott your record if you use DIVA instead of an OB8. That's useful enough. My only beef with your posts is that you would make a lousy scientist. I can't tell if I'd rather you were or weren't one. It would might be better for the field if you're not (at least until your understanding of statistics and test design is sorted), but on the other hand I'd love to tear your overreaching conclusions section a new one in peer review some day .



Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
It doesn't sound better than a real OB8, or it doesn't sound the same as a real OB8?

Personally, I don't get the bit about the assumption that "Diva doesn't sound the same as an OB8, therefore the OB8 is better."

Also, this was just a couple of sounds for a few bars. I cannot believe the amount of debate and discussion of minutiae that has resulted from this extremely narrow and limited "test."
Well said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWAN808 View Post
wow what a thread
A belated thanks for putting the test file together SWAN808. I enjoyed it, despite how frustrating the discussion on these types of threads can get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
yes...I wake up grab a coffee, flick on my mac and there it is right at the top of thread listings...everyyyyyyyyyday...
Haha I feel that way tooooooooooo
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Old 26th July 2014
  #986
Gear Addict
 

Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered voting as I don't know what either of the synths are SUPPOSED to sound like, I went on the basis that the OB8 should sound fuller, warmer etc, basically what I preferred, and I picked OB8 as the first one, I only listened a couple of times through on the basis that if you have to listen for an age analyzing and analyzing the point has been proven already, ie that there isn't much in it, Anyway I felt that some power was lost on the second one..having listened back again, I think I was probably just imagining it anyway...

Not read through the whole thread, but can someone fill me in on what someone experienced should actually have been listening to in the first place to determine, ie what differences in general should a critical experienced listener expect and why, and what differences I can focus on this particular example..

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Old 26th July 2014
  #987
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by btroberts View Post
Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered voting as I don't know what either of the synths are SUPPOSED to sound like, I went on the basis that the OB8 should sound fuller, warmer etc, basically what I preferred...
^^^^^THIS.

I wonder how many of the voters had exactly the same mindset?

Right out of the box, I think many people just assume that the software instrument will be the less preferable one of the two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btroberts View Post
Not read through the whole thread, but can someone fill me in on what someone experienced should actually have been listening to in the first place to determine, ie what differences in general should a critical experienced listener expect and why, and what differences I can focus on this particular example..
Please, please, just read the thread. And delete this. Please.
Old 26th July 2014
  #988
Gear Addict
 

No sorry, I won't edit my post , but people are free not to answer if it's already been answered..

Maybe the OP could edit their first post and give an account of the differences between then two, so that when people listen they can actually learn something? Makes the thread much more valuable imo
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Old 26th July 2014
  #989
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
50/50 is a pure random distribution.
it would represent random distribution if we were studying chaotic patterns like cloud formation, water motion, etc... assuming everyone is guessing and no-one could tell, this is about right.

but a number of people have said they could tell. that means choosing, not guessing.. and in those terms, 50/50 means what it says... it's the same as an election; a close result doesn't mean everyone randomly voted, it means it was a close election.

imo the takeaway is that nowadays many have difficulty telling virtual from real world ...i'd no doubt be one of 'em as i couldn't tell a difference when i checked it out.


and i still think Diva sounded great... tho i'd prefer the Oberheim
Old 26th July 2014
  #990
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Does this thread herald the beginning of-the-end for the analogue vs software epoch
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