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Why does older analog synths sounds better than newer? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 29th July 2014
  #271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11
The origins of the synthesizer date back to the late 1800's - that's a long time ago.

Do yourself a favor and study the history of audio before you begin pontificating - I'd suggest starting with the telephone, there are some real surprises there
woah, i didn't said that the designers of the old analog synths invented electricity! nor the telephone, nor the radio, nor the light bulb

i just said what i think, which is uneducated guessing
tbh, i'm not that interested in history, never was

this thread is not for me, shouldn't have poked my noise in it
lesson learnt
Old 29th July 2014
  #272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanax
i gotta disagree with the above.. go do some research on Bob Moog.. he actually developed the VCO, ADSR etc.. as modules.. synths as you know them are the end result of already tons of development from modular design dating back from the 60's..
i am aware about bob moog, and his modular synthesizer stuff
i just never liked moogs, that's why when i think of "old synths" moogs don't even pass thru my head, i think of synths that have an actual fixed structure and usually a specific purpose (strings or percussion or bass..)
old synths that pass thru my mind (which i like) .. 303, jp8000 (which is VA), D-50 (which is VA too), hammond novachord (not because of the tubes but because of the spooky sounds it makes), 808..
see, no moogs in my list, their sound just doesn't ring my bells

Quote:
and synthesis work from even a lot longer ago (as stated just above) they may not have had the internet.. but they had better: school. Bob Moog, Dave Smith etc all have degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, physics..etc
yeah, see, electrical engineering
now i think there are school specifically about musical instruments, even schools that teach you how to code VST/AU plugins (i am not 100% sure on that tho)

Quote:
I feel like today most synths are way too dumbed-down, everything is integrated & not many are really forward thinking or breaking new barriers (on the contrary trying to rehash 30 year old designs)..
if you look at the old cars from back then, they also look different, not just different to todays cars, but also different to each other
todays cars are all the same looking, egg-shaped more or less

there are loads of synths today that are designed to be able to do everything at once (monster synths)
i think older synths were less capable so they had to concentrate on some specific purpose and do just that (you can't get no strings out of a 303)
Old 29th July 2014
  #273
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the 303 is like an alien in the synth world.. as brilliant and unique as it is for what it does, it's definitely one of the most limited synth sonically speaking..

most analog synths from back in the day were actually made to emulate acoustic/electric instruments (including the 303) and i would say did a much better job then today.. thanks to BBD chorusing, tape delay, spring reverb etc you could achieve a way more organic sound than modern digital/VA FX imo.. actually my stock 303 can do a very convincing electric bass thanks to it's complex sequencing slide/accent articulations & envelopes..
Old 29th July 2014
  #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antto View Post
whether older synths sound better or not.. that's subjective IMO
No, it's objective IMO


Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkelein View Post
It's the changing of capacitors, which help regulate the voltage levels within the unit. It's especially important in the power supply where a failing cap can make a synth impossible to calibrate or tune properly.

If it's an old unit it may well have caps that perform a little worse giving it a more unstable, 'organic' quality, but it isn't safe to assume. Many vintage units would see little to no difference after a recap. I'd wager Rolands in general hold up really well in this regard.

But there's a difference between aged and broken. Most people wouldn't bother changing caps until a unit starts acting up, or you can physically see that a specific cap is busted (the top of the cylinder bulges outward). But I can see how one could see it as beneficial to recap even if a unit's working properly if striving for a clean and stable sound.

But other people will have to speak about their experiences with this as I have never actually done it myself.
Thanks for explaining very well! I understand bettet now.
Old 29th July 2014
  #275
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Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
No, it's objective IMO




Thanks for explaining very well! I understand bettet now.
"in your opinion" ..... now that's funny
Old 29th July 2014
  #276
Registered User
NY Times: Sure, You Loved Lucy, but Retro TV Has Limits

"Maybe you’re one of those irritating people prone to complaining, “Why can’t they make shows as good as [name of a vintage TV series] anymore?” "

"And the reality is: All this retro TV is too much of a good thing, or, more correctly, too much of a thing that wasn’t really as good as memory makes it seem."

Sorry, but I was reading this, and I couldn't help but think of this discussion here on GS.
Old 29th July 2014
  #277
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Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
NY Times
Old 29th July 2014
  #278
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Originally Posted by Eigenwert View Post
You are a pure hero. The Chuck Norris of Gearslutz.
Old 29th July 2014
  #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffee View Post
If I'm not totally out of my mind I might have been the guy.

But you see, more traditional music and electronic music doesn't have that much in common and that's why I like electronic music. Traditional music is all about words, melodies, song structure etc. I understand most people like that tested and true formula.

But in dance music, techno music in particular, there are only two significant factors: good groove and "surprise value". Good groove makes you dance and the surprise value makes you smile, it is something that is completely off, something you couldn't expect. Analog, if capable of providing good groove, doesn't really cut for surprise value anymore.
Which brings us back to where we started... that's cool & I'm happy for you, that you found what makes you happy.

I like the old tones... be they analog or digital (DX7, D-50).

There's room for all of us.
Old 29th July 2014
  #280
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Originally Posted by massimo View Post
Bad instruments do exist, definitely. Quality varies wildly (as much as retail price...) - just think of an acoustic guitar that doesn't keep intonation up the neck, or that sounds dead. A great instrument really connects to your soul, and can be a powerful source of inspiration. Then it may well be that one owns a great instrument, and is a bad musician or isn't skilled enough to take full advantage of it, but that's another story...
I agree with that as well... & with acoustic guitars (I argue it's the same with synths) you can't always here the difference when sitting in the audience, be that live or kicked back in your living room.

I know all of you have played an instrument at one time or another & thought it was lifeless, that it did nothing for you & by contrast you've played an instrument that spoke to the deepest part of your soul & provided the conduit to get that bit of music out of you.

Some experience this more times than not sitting behind an analog (sometimes vintage) synth & less frequently behind an imitation...

Some people are so connected to that musical part of their soul that they don't need a magic stick.... & that's fine, nothing wrong with that.
Old 29th July 2014
  #281
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Because you haven't bought a Macbeth
Old 30th July 2014
  #282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
It's weird to me how so many people here seem to think that it is the instrument that provides the soul, organic nature, liveliness, inspiration, or dynamic sound, when, in fact, it is the musician.

There is no such thing as a bad instrument, only a bad musician.

A good musician can make great music using anything as a tool.

Some of the best music I ever made was made with a broken 4-track, a broken guitar, a $5 Radioshack microphone, and some shoes tumbling in a dryer and pots and pans for percussion.
With all respect sir, even if it sounds wise, few things can be more wrong than that statement.

A musical instrument is a translator that translates the language of the soul to the language of music. A good instrument is a good translator. A bad instrument is a bad translator. There are different qualities of instrument - good quality instruments and bad quality instruments.

Most musicians I know (and probably very many in general) are serious with their music. They work hard with their music to be as good as possible, with the ultimate goal that something will happen inside people when they hear the music.

Regardless what our deepest inspiration of music is, the instrument translates our soul - in a conscious way or not (if it wasn't against the roles of GS of talking religion or politic I would mentionl as an example of this from where my inspiration comes from, but now I can't tell that as a Christian to not brake the roles). The music is the sound of a deep that calls another deep.

Everybody deserves a good instrument to be able to have a good translator of their language of their soul. All good instruments fits not everybody as we are different. That is the reason to different opinions in this thread and therefore I can't say some opinions are wrong, just different, to fit our musical language. Then its in our vain human nature that we want to discuss. And BTW, older analog synths sounds in general better than newer
Old 30th July 2014
  #283
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Originally Posted by xanax View Post
I feel like today most synths are way too dumbed-down, everything is integrated & not many are really forward thinking or breaking new barriers (on the contrary trying to rehash 30 year old designs).. only in the modular world do i really see exciting things happening
This seems like a rather bold statement...
Some random stuff that is not THAT dumbed down:

- Pianotec: User interface/tweaking is simplified, but I think it is pretty much state of the art for physical modelling. Quite a bit more advanced than simple Karplus-Strong...

- MOD7 (Kronos/Oasys): Waveshaping+FM on a whole new level

- Zebra: Oscillator FX (+wave morphing)

- Alchemy (not sure, the free demo blocks all the interesting parts)

- Solaris (and the Prophet 12/2): Audio rate modulation matrix (yes, modular is old, but not for a polyphonic synth)

etc.
Even very standard stuff like Massive does quite some unusual things (feedback path with FX). A "dirt cheap" VA like the Blofeld gives you more synthesis possibilities than a reasonable sized modular.

Yes, I agree, that some of the modular stuff is even more advanced (e.g. Shapeshifter), but I think the main limitation with the more interesting modern synths is the user.

If this is not enough excitement for you, there is always Reaktor/Supercollider/Max/Pure Data/...
Old 30th July 2014
  #284
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^ dude i was mainly referring to analog synths... or at the very least hardware synths..
Old 30th July 2014
  #285
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Originally Posted by xanax View Post
^ dude i was mainly referring to analog synths... or at the very least hardware synths..
Sorry, lets restate my comment:

- Minibrute: Wavefolding (yes, Serge/Buchla did this quite some time back), "supersaw" (Doepfer did this circuit a while back, I think it´s olfd electronotes, etc. Not "new, but I think not done in a cheap synth before.

- Dominion 1: Dynamic FM (trivial in a modular, but also not a well known feature in a fixed architecture syth)

- extensive paraphony (8 voice in the pulse; earlier synths do only up to 3 voices I think)

- Waveshaping on the oscillator level (Dominion X/1 and Voyager)

- More Hybrid stuff (e.g. Shrunti/Spectralis)

- A serious modulation matrix (DSI stuff, Pulse2) (yes, the Matrix synths started it, but I think we are more advanced by now)

- Avoiding exp conversion by directly providing frequency controll by DA (new Moog)

Obviously that stuff is less revolutionary than the new digital stuff. Considering that building new analogue synths basically restarted only approx. 2 years back (as a big movement), I still think there is room to grow.

Are new analog (or hybrid) synths more limited than modular? Yes!

Still they do a bunch of stuff that was not possible with the vintage synths...
Old 30th July 2014
  #286
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.. notice that list gets a lot shorter and some of the synths you mention are couple years old already..

oh and DSi & Moog revived analog 12 years ago
Old 30th July 2014
  #287
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Quote:
It's the changing of capacitors, which help regulate the voltage levels within the unit. It's especially important in the power supply where a failing cap can make a synth impossible to calibrate or tune properly.

If it's an old unit it may well have caps that perform a little worse giving it a more unstable, 'organic' quality, but it isn't safe to assume. Many vintage units would see little to no difference after a recap. I'd wager Rolands in general hold up really well in this regard.

But there's a difference between aged and broken. Most people wouldn't bother changing caps until a unit starts acting up, or you can physically see that a specific cap is busted (the top of the cylinder bulges outward). But I can see how one could see it as beneficial to recap even if a unit's working properly if striving for a clean and stable sound.

But other people will have to speak about their experiences with this as I have never actually done it myself.

i have a sequential circuits sixtrak

its a bit fuctup

it has one octave that is a bit wonky tuning wise , makes the sour lemon face

i have a studio client, a DJ, pays good money and is a big cheese in the world of those things

he LOVES the wonky octave, he goes mental anytime i play the wonky octave

like TAKE TAKE TAKE

his punters seem to love it too, its been the centre piece of a few big tunes

maybe thats the reason old things sound better? because theyre fuct

anyway should i have the wonky octave fixed? (it sounds **** to me)

i think not , but i am tempted

should NI make a perfect circuit perfect replicant of my wonky sixtrak?

maybe

can i tell people what they should like?

definitely not
Old 30th July 2014
  #288
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haha, I hate wonky tuning like that. I push the tuning button before every take. I can see the charm though.
Old 30th July 2014
  #289
I just don't care one bit. Old gear is out dated, makes same old sounds. New instruments do way more, and its close enough in most way, but they go way beyond what the old gear can do.

I prefer my boomstar, p12, slim phatty, to my sh 09, sh101, sh2, micromoog, voyager, model d. I like the prophet 12 more than the jupter 6.

I don't miss any of my old gear, new analog is making me very happy..

DF
Old 30th July 2014
  #290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Proton View Post
There is definately some mojo from the older synths like my Odyssey mk3 and will be interesting to hear how the new Korg Odyssey holds up to it with SMT technology.

You can build mojo synths like the Oakley modular which I feel has mojo in heaps wheras the Doepfer sounds a bit modern to my ears.

The SH1000 I just bought needs recapping but I'm going to leave it as it is due the lovely sound it has. Compared to the 101 it sounds a lot more soulful. The Telemark V2 synth I also just bought has that analog sound that I love (from the youtube demo's) will see how it sounds in the real world when it arrives today.

My old Esq-1 hybrid sounds more authentic than some of todays new breed analog/analog-hybrids.
Recapping older synth can be tricky.. but often there are not much electrolytics in the signal way.. quality caps are a solution.. yesterday standard cap is todays extra special audio grade version.. at least fom the formfaktor. One can say that you are on the right track when the new caps have the same szise as the old ones.. When they are so big that you hardly cant squeeze them in you are too far in the esoteric cap corner..and when they look too tiny you havent payed enough.
A cap you use in your synth can cost more than 0,50.- dont needs to be the cheapest component you can find.
Old 30th July 2014
  #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
I agree with maisonvague and Dirty Halo. I have very little interest in vintage synths, and only a healthy interest in analog synths, but the modern analog stuff (think modulars, DSI, newer moogs, etc) sounds better to me simply because you can do lots of things you couldn't with older synths. Faster modulations, more stable pitches, FM in the analog domain, crazy sequencing, etc. I'm really not much into lush JP8 pads or the quintessential moog bass.
But that is not "sound", those are capabilities.

I agree that old synths sound better, there is no analog synth that can compare to a Júpiter 4 in sound IMO. You find the difference in the bass, in the smooth of the tone, the organic sound. I have had newer analog synths and they all dont sound as great as the old analog synths I have owned. Even my Juno 106 sounds better IMO (and this is not a "nostalgic" opinión, I dont/didnt listen to 80's music, I just love synths).
Old 30th July 2014
  #292
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
....the organic sound.
This kind of description seems to get tossed around quite a bit when speaking of vintage synthesizers, and I don't know what it means.

I still contend that these kinds of 'qualities' exist mostly or all in the ears and mind of the beholder. There are just so many people who don't hear these things.... Is it because they (we) simply aren't skilled listeners, or because we aren't predisposed to hear them, because we have no other kind of psychological attachment to vintage instruments?
Old 30th July 2014
  #293
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
But that is not "sound", those are capabilities.

I agree that old synths sound better, there is no analog synth that can compare to a Júpiter 4 in sound IMO. You find the difference in the bass, in the smooth of the tone, the organic sound. I have had newer analog synths and they all dont sound as great as the old analog synths I have owned. Even my Juno 106 sounds better IMO (and this is not a "nostalgic" opinión, I dont/didnt listen to 80's music, I just love synths).
Increased capabilities translates into sound, much more interesting sounds. If you want your sound to stop in 1983, then vintage synths are for you, but if you want to make new and more interesting sounds, you need "new capabilities"

As for "organic", I have no idea what this means - synths aren't "organic" devices, they're mass-produced electronic boxes full of transistors and circuits designed to modify relatively simple waveforms into something more complex, through subtractive synthesis - older synths do this with less variation and complexity, far less, than newer synths do - that's the only difference.

If you think a Juno 106 sounds "better" than, say, a Korg Oasys, then you have a different definition of "better".
Old 30th July 2014
  #294
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Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Increased capabilities translates into sound, much more interesting sounds. If you want your sound to stop in 1983, then vintage synths are for you, but if you want to make new and more interesting sounds, you need "new capabilities"

As for "organic", I have no idea what this means - synths aren't "organic" devices, they're mass-produced electronic boxes full of transistors and circuits designed to modify relatively simple waveforms into something more complex, through subtractive synthesis - older synths do this with less variation and complexity, far less, than newer synths do - that's the only difference.

If you think a Juno 106 sounds "better" than, say, a Korg Oasys, then you have a different definition of "better".
Well, there are vintage synths with a lot of more power than a Mopho, for giving an example.

The thing is that if your synth sounds bad, it doesnt matter if you can create all the sounds in the world. I dont think that capabilities is the main topic here.

About organic, I am not sure why you dont get it, but I got it the first time I read the Word and for me it is very descriptive: organic is something that sounds real, imitating the sound of the nature. A guitar sounds organic because it is real, it has real strings and the vibration is real. A synthesizer is an electronic device, nonetheless, some of them can imitate sounds of the environment and they sound "organic" because you feel them as a real instrument in your hearing. Synths can imitate and sound like sounds in the nature (electricity, wind, etc), some sound better, some sound worse. I dont think this is hard to understand (I am sure you already knew/understood this very well, since you responded replicating my comment instead of asking).


Rgds,

Old 30th July 2014
  #295
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
About organic...
I totally get it, donethur. The ritual of tuning the four oscillators of my Jupiter-4 prior to every session, like tuning the strings of a violin or bass guitar, helps make it feel more like an acoustic or electro-acoustic instrument than a synthesizer. I like that.
Old 30th July 2014
  #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
Well, there are vintage synths with a lot of more power than a Mopho, for giving an example.

The thing is that if your synth sounds bad, it doesnt matter if you can create all the sounds in the world.
Watch (and listen) to this (one of several Mopho video demos I've done). Watch the whole thing.

I dunno, I think this little guy sounds darn good.

Old 30th July 2014
  #297
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
Well, there are vintage synths with a lot of more power than a Mopho, for giving an example.

The thing is that if your synth sounds bad, it doesnt matter if you can create all the sounds in the world. I dont think that capabilities is the main topic here.

About organic, I am not sure why you dont get it, but I got it the first time I read the Word and for me it is very descriptive: organic is something that sounds real, imitating the sound of the nature. A guitar sounds organic because it is real, it has real strings and the vibration is real. A synthesizer is an electronic device, nonetheless, some of them can imitate sounds of the environment and they sound "organic" because you feel them as a real instrument in your hearing. Synths can imitate and sound like sounds in the nature (electricity, wind, etc), some sound better, some sound worse. I dont think this is hard to understand (I am sure you already knew/understood this very well, since you responded replicating my comment instead of asking).


Rgds,

Analog synths do a terrible job of replicating or imitating the sounds of real instruments - a synthesizer, by virtue of its name alone, tells you what it is, it's something that "synthesizes sound". A clarinet, or violin or, gasp - sax sound on ANY analog synth is a joke, and the reason many people disliked analog synths back when they were new. Part of that is people didn't treat synths as instruments in their own right, but were rather trying to do the replacement/replica thing. It didn't help that many synth manufacturers marketed their synths that way.

Newer synths, like those that came along in the late 80's, and IMO, were perfected by the mid 90's - the K series Kurzweils for example - were far better at what you desire. My K2500 has multi-stage envelopes and modulation routings that allow for much more complex and frankly, "organic" tones - tones that have the qualities and behaviors of real instruments. My Korg Oasys has taken this to new heights (and lows ).

Sound design on newer synths is a far more complex endeavor than any vintage analog synth, but the results are worth it. If you want to say to me there's an "immediacy" to an old synth, then I'll agree with you - immediacy is easy to obtain when working with limited sound palates, but to compare the complexity of sound with any of the newer synths is a non-starter.

As for you understanding "organic sound" right off the bat, I can't get inside your head to understand that, but to each his own, I guess.
Old 30th July 2014
  #298
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
As for "organic", I have no idea what this means - synths aren't "organic" devices, they're mass-produced electronic boxes full of transistors and circuits designed to modify relatively simple waveforms into something more complex, through subtractive synthesis - older synths do this with less variation and complexity, far less, than newer synths do - that's the only difference.
I don't get why people always say that electronics aren't organic. The materials come out of the earth, so they are pretty much as organic as say a guitar. Like Ralf Hütter once said: "Guitars don't grow on trees". In many ways electronic instruments are even closer to nature than more traditional instruments, seeing how there are electrical pulses in all living things.

What people mean by organic, though, has more to do with the random nature of analog instruments. Triggering one note won't sound exactly like triggering the next, tuning variations, very similar to traditional, non-electronic instruments. Something the ear has come to love.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
If you think a Juno 106 sounds "better" than, say, a Korg Oasys, then you have a different definition of "better".
That's entirely down to the music you want to make and your taste. Give me both and I will make something that's OK, but it's not really the tools that I'd choose for expressing myself. You either gel with an instrument or you don't. Look at this video of Tori Amos where she tries out new pianos, she repeatedly says exactly that.
Old 30th July 2014
  #299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
This kind of description seems to get tossed around quite a bit when speaking of vintage synthesizers, and I don't know what it means.

I still contend that these kinds of 'qualities' exist mostly or all in the ears and mind of the beholder. There are just so many people who don't hear these things.... Is it because they (we) simply aren't skilled listeners, or because we aren't predisposed to hear them, because we have no other kind of psychological attachment to vintage instruments?
Perhaps. The only direct experience I have in this regard is having owned both a Mopho and a Pro-One. I will leave evaluative judgments to the side for a moment and simply say that they sounded quite different to me.

Characterizing those differences in words is always difficult. But for me -- to get right back to evaluative judgment! -- the Pro-One sounded fuller, richer, bigger, and more powerful. And I say this as one who very much liked the Mopho (I would take it over a Little Phatty in a heartbeat).

I acknowledge, by the way, that this perception of the sonic qualities of the Pro-One compared to those of the Mopho *could* be the result of preconceived notions or "psychological attachments." But at the end of the day, we all have to trust our own ears.
Old 30th July 2014
  #300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Analog synths do a terrible job of replicating or imitating the sounds of real instruments

I am not talking about replicating real instruments, I am talking in the sound itself. The filters, etc. What synths do, replicating real instruments is not what I do with them (never touched a real instrument replication in a synth).
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