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Why does older analog synths sounds better than newer? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 30th July 2014
  #301
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Hahahaha... Synths creating real instruments.
Old 30th July 2014
  #302
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
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, help make it feel more like an acoustic or electro-acoustic instrument than a synthesizer. I like that.
The concept of "flaws" is an interesting one, and makes for interesting discussion.

People who love analog recording tend to argue in favor of it based around flaws, whether they know it or not - they revel in noise, distortion, wow, flutter, surface noise, randomness and random behavior from one item to the next, whether its preamps, tape machines, microphones etc.

For me and the kind of work I do, I look to eliminate flaws; I chose my Yamaha C5 grand over a Steinway, Mason Hamlin and Baldwin because of the bunch, it was the least flawed, though if I'm being honest, lacked the sound of the Steinway (gist for another thread).

However, the Yamaha has performed as expected over the 14 1/2 years I've had it, which means I've been able to work more efficiently, faster and for me, more creatively because I haven't had the task chasing down non-musical things. For the same reason I'd never move from Pro Tools back to tape-based recording, I'd never want my ocillaotrs to be anything but digitally controlled, and to be honest, after having heard the DSI P12 - purely digital heh

Flaws are valid, though, I feel entirely different when it comes to automobiles (another passion of mine), I really dislike new cars and I drive two older models, an old Mercedes and my 8 year-old BMW because I like the "feel" of "analog" cars (even though my BMW is DBW, it's got a manual transmission).

It's an interesting discussion point and I think it has more to do with why people gravitate towards old things - in the case of synths, I really think it's less about the sound, and more about "feel", and comfort levels.
Old 30th July 2014
  #303
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LOL!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azurebirch View Post
I don't know, I've got a theory: back in the day the manufacturers aimed to voice the synths so that they mimic the rich sound of acoustic instruments and they failed deliciously.

Nowadays, they voice them to mimic Skrillex! Unfortunately, they succeed every time.

Old 30th July 2014
  #304
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If someone made a modern poly with discrete components it would ( could ) sound as good as a so called 'classic'...

The Jupiter 8 is unique because it is built better on the analog side.
The digital control side leaves a lot to be desired.

:D
Old 30th July 2014
  #305
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_apprentice View Post
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.
You can make that argument about anything - you can say a car is organic because it has wheels and rolls along the same way a rock rolls down a hill, or an airplane is organic because it flies the same way a bird flies (or actually, more akin to a bat, but you get the idea), so no, I don't buy the organic argument - unless you're going to include everything known to man because if it's man-made, it's "organic".
Old 30th July 2014
  #306
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If someone made a modern poly with discrete components it would ( could ) sound as good as a so called 'classic'...

The Jupiter 8 is unique because it is built better on the analog side.
The digital control side leaves a lot to be desired.

:D
Old 30th July 2014
  #307
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_apprentice View Post
In many ways electronic instruments are even closer to nature than more traditional instruments, seeing how there are electrical pulses in all living things.
Honestly, this is a bit of a stretch for me.

I guess that I would tend to equate the concept of "organic" more with acoustic instruments. When a flute, violin, or piano makes a sound, those sounds are heard directly by my ears.

Synthesizers, on the other hand, create electrical signals that can only be heard when connected to a speaker. To that end, when you hear a synthesizer, it is always like you're listening to a recording, and the speakers are always a factor in the experience.

However, when I play my piano, I hear the piano itself, not the piano coming through JBL or M-Audio speakers. And the piano sounds are resonating in a gigantic wooden sounding board, and then coming to my ears. It is "organic" to me. It is not electrical components generating electrical signals that are coming out of my headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_apprentice View Post
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.
Isn't this "randomness" component that analog instruments supposedly have a bit overblown? The notes all sound identical. Yes, there can be very slight intonation changes, but these exist with most acoustic instruments as well. A trumpeter or violinist can play ten successive B flats and each one will be ever so slightly out of tune with the prior one. And this can easily be modeled, as Urs did with Diva.
Old 30th July 2014
  #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
If someone made a modern poly with discrete components it would ( could ) sound as good as a so called 'classic'...

The Jupiter 8 is unique because it is built better on the analog side.
The digital control side leaves a lot to be desired.

:D
I don't think discrete components are a guarantee - years ago, when Fender designed its first transistor amps, they replaced the tubes with discrete transistors, everything was the same - same circuit topology, just transistors in place of tubes.

The sound of those amps was an absolute disaster - yet if you look at the circuit, you'd make a synth designer think "hey, cool - discrete electronics!!!".

It's all about the design and how well it's implemented. People waxing nostalgic over "discrete" electronics is another placebo - there's simply no evidence to support it. In the Fender example, the design was for tubes, not transistors, so it failed. You can make a great sounding discrete box, of course, but at what price? One has to make a business case for these things - years ago, the first transistors were discrete, that's all you had, but today there are better options.
Old 30th July 2014
  #309
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donethur View Post
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).
What do synths do?

They create a simple waveform (at its simplest, a sine wave), then play back a set of more complicated waveforms with added harmonics (to the sine) creating a: saw, pulse, triangle, square etc.

Then you have the "filter", which is essentially a tone control that "subtracts" these added harmonics at certain frequencies ...

How good it sounds depends upon how well it's designed.

That's the crux of it ....

I've been using synths for over 35 years now, to my ears, the best filter on the market currently is a software plug in, it's made by Soundtoys (the same guys who designed and built the hardware Harmonizer) and it's called Filter Freak. It's a multi-mode, two stage, completely automatable plug in and it sounds completely awesome, more "analog" than many analog filters - go figure ... heh I've been using ST FF on everything for almost ten years now - I've even resynthesized a lot of synth tracks with it, as have many of my cohorts who mix popular records - you guys would be surprised at how many of your favorite recordings feature "add ons" you might not believe are there
Old 30th July 2014
  #310
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
Honestly, this is a bit of a stretch for me.

I guess that I would tend to equate the concept of "organic" more with acoustic instruments. When a flute, violin, or piano makes a sound, those sounds are heard directly by my ears.

Synthesizers, on the other hand, create electrical signals that can only be heard when connected to a speaker. To that end, when you hear a synthesizer, it is always like you're listening to a recording, and the speakers are always a factor in the experience.

However, when I play my piano, I hear the piano itself, not the piano coming through JBL or M-Audio speakers. And the piano sounds are resonating in a gigantic wooden sounding board, and then coming to my ears. It is "organic" to me. It is not electrical components generating electrical signals that are coming out of my headphones.



Isn't this "randomness" component that analog instruments supposedly have a bit overblown? The notes all sound identical. Yes, there can be very slight intonation changes, but these exist with most acoustic instruments as well. A trumpeter or violinist can play ten successive B flats and each one will be ever so slightly out of tune with the prior one. And this can easily be modeled, as Urs did with Diva.
The "organic" argument is a strawman brought up in analog circles - it essentially means whatever you want it to mean, from flawed components to archaic and limited design features.
Old 30th July 2014
  #311
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Discrete is not a guarantee of better sound, that is for sure.

That said, most (maybe all) of the modern analog synths that have been brought up in this thread as examples of synths that sound as good as the old ones are in fact discrete.

I remember chatting with the owner of a company that makes boutique analog gear and his opinion was that there is definitely a difference in sound, I respect what he said.

So I think that discrete is a factor in sound, not a placebo, although obviously discrete can sound terrible if the circuit is designed poorly.

Filter Freak is the best filter you've come across? I own and have used it since it was released but... really? IMHO it's OK at best, but hardly as good as a good analog filter... on par with a lot of other software filters I think.
Old 30th July 2014
  #312
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I have to say that when people start going on about analogue synths being closer to mother nature, I completely lose the thread of the discussion.

I mean, analogue synths are no more natural than any other electronic device, including computers and pocket calculators.

These very same analogue synths that are put on a pedestal and worshipped nowadays, were roundly panned by "proper" musicians when they first came out, precisely because they do NOT produce natural sounds.

If you like wobbly, noisy synths, that's fine. I like them too (sometimes), but please leave the earth mother nonsense out of the argument.

The whole appeal of electronic music for me is the sounds are not natural, but that we are given an almost limitless palette of unnatural sounds to make music with.

D.
Old 30th July 2014
  #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante View Post
Discrete is not a guarantee of better sound, that is for sure.

That said, most (maybe all) of the modern analog synths that have been brought up in this thread as examples of synths that sound as good as the old ones are in fact discrete.

I remember chatting with the owner of a company that makes boutique analog gear and his opinion was that there is definitely a difference in sound, I respect what he said.

So I think that discrete is a factor in sound, not a placebo, although obviously discrete can sound terrible if the circuit is designed poorly.

Filter Freak is the best filter you've come across? I own and have used it since it was released but... really? IMHO it's OK at best, but hardly as good as a good analog filter... on par with a lot of other software filters I think.
To be honest, I prefer my guitar amps built this way - I like simple amps with discrete components, primarily tube driven and easy to repair - so i have a number of vintage Fenders and one modern (DR Z).

So, yes, there's something to the argument.

With synths, I'm less inclined to believe in discrete componentry simply because I don't see where it matters as much ... it's not as if you're entire signal path depends upon the purity of amplification ...I'd be interested to see what some of the designers think.
Old 30th July 2014
  #314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAllianceEast! View Post
If someone made a modern poly with discrete components it would ( could ) sound as good as a so called 'classic'...
If the solution is that simple to get a more organic analog sound and still the benefits of modern analog synths, then let's hope they will use these components instead
Old 30th July 2014
  #315
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Maybe a little OT, but one of my favorite quotes from Bob Moog:

"The idea that some musical instruments are more natural than others is pure nonsense. Except for the human voice, all musical instruments are highly contrived, wholly artificial, and utterly dependant upon the most advanced technologies of the time in which they are developed. When we view musical instruments this way, we see the widespread use of electronics in the production of the music of our time is not a break with tradition, but a clear continuation of it."
Robert A. Moog

I have many old and new synths from an old Moog to a vintage early digital Synclavier II to some of the latest modern digatal and analog. They all have a unique tone, some more so than others.
I still play my Moog every day and it will be 45 years old in a few weeks with a build date of Aug 11, 1969. Still sounds amazing to my ears, and I have little problem getting new sounds out of it depending on how I patch it up. Always something new to expolre. But I would never use the word "Better" to describe any synth, just "Unique".

The old and still very reliable 1969 Moog.


All discrete circuits and does have a unique tone I find difficult to replicate with other equipment, modern or vintage.
Just made a vid the other day of a discrete ring modulator DIY module I put together. Can hear some of those unique deep bass tones. When you stop and think about it, it is amazing that a piece of electronics built in 1969 still holds it own today.
Old 30th July 2014
  #316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
The old and still very reliable 1969 Moog.
Lucky
Old 30th July 2014
  #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
Lucky
Very lucky this one did not end up with some rich collector. Was purcased from a zero feedback Ebay seller. Turned out to be a cool professor from Long Island University that had kept it stored for many years. He needed money to rebuild his Steinway and was happy it went to someone that would use it. The first thing I turn on when I come home from work and the last thing I turn off when I go to bed. Can't ask for more than that from a synth! And it does sound awesome!
Old 30th July 2014
  #318
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Eigenwert's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamprecision View Post
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
You made me laugh so much I have tears in my eyes
Old 30th July 2014
  #319
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
These very same analogue synths that are put on a pedestal and worshipped nowadays, were roundly panned by "proper" musicians when they first came out, precisely because they do NOT produce natural sounds.
Those "proper musicians" made terrible music.. I couldn't care less what they think.

Random video.. kinda love this song actually.. but still this era of popular music was so lame, it forced the Blues Brothers to be made.
Old 30th July 2014
  #320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
What do synths do?

They create a simple waveform (at its simplest, a sine wave), then play back a set of more complicated waveforms with added harmonics (to the sine) creating a: saw, pulse, triangle, square etc.

Then you have the "filter", which is essentially a tone control that "subtracts" these added harmonics at certain frequencies ...

How good it sounds depends upon how well it's designed.

That's the crux of it ....

I've been using synths for over 35 years now, to my ears, the best filter on the market currently is a software plug in, it's made by Soundtoys (the same guys who designed and built the hardware Harmonizer) and it's called Filter Freak. It's a multi-mode, two stage, completely automatable plug in and it sounds completely awesome, more "analog" than many analog filters - go figure ... heh I've been using ST FF on everything for almost ten years now - I've even resynthesized a lot of synth tracks with it, as have many of my cohorts who mix popular records - you guys would be surprised at how many of your favorite recordings feature "add ons" you might not believe are there
I use FilterFreak as much as I possibly can on everything. I use it to do most of my LPF/HPF also.

I agree it sounds better than the couple of hardware filters I have. And you can overdrive it which doesn't sound bad at all.
Old 30th July 2014
  #321
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
Those "proper musicians" made terrible music.. I couldn't care less what they think.
I didn't mention it because I agreed with it. I just think it's ironic that the very same synths that nowadays are supposed to be "natural", were condemned for being very unnatural when they were the only synths in existence.


D.
Old 30th July 2014
  #322
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielb View Post
I didn't mention it because I agreed with it.
Then why mention it?

All it points out is that those people were old-fashioned and had no vision.
Old 30th July 2014
  #323
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There are plenty of good things to say about synthesizers, the sounds they generate can be hypnotic, entrancing, abrasive, soothing, etc. But I've yet to hear a synth that sounds natural; there's absolutely nothing natural about the sound of a square, triangle or sawtooth wave, and that's OK, because the reason most of us chose to play synths is because of the unnatural, otherworldly sounds they can produce; I mean, these instruments are the product of industrialization, they run on electricity and the sound produced even sounds electronic...
Old 30th July 2014
  #324
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Whales sound like synths...
Old 30th July 2014
  #325
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Eigenwert's Avatar
Interesting. I was under the impression it was the other way round

Edit: I wondered whether it was possible to drill a whale to sound like a CS-80. But I finally ditched that Idea, since keeping one would be even more expensive than keeping a CS-80 heh
Old 30th July 2014
  #326
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Indeed... The whole "synths= industrial de-humanization" thing is as much of a mythology as anything. Listening to say an old Kraftwerk record I hear a lot of romanticism...
Old 30th July 2014
  #327
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
The concept of "flaws" is an interesting one, and makes for interesting discussion.
I agree it's an interesting topic. I don't consider the need to tune the Jupiter-4 oscillators a flaw, though -- no more than I'd consider the need to tune guitar strings a flaw. It's just the nature of those instruments. I quite enjoy it, actually. It's a way of bonding with the other musicians in the band.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CZ Rider View Post
But I would never use the word "Better" to describe any synth, just "Unique"
Yes. That's something I'm into exploring as well: the unique properties of instruments. Btw beautiful Moog!
Old 30th July 2014
  #328
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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 - a synthesizer, by virtue of its name alone, tells you what it is, it's something that "synthesizes sound".
It doesn't sound like that is why Bob Moog called his instruments synthesizers.
Old 30th July 2014
  #329
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
Why is it that older Moogs, Prophets etc sounds better than newer Moogs, Prophets etc? New analogs still sounds awesome, but older analogs has more edge, are more focused and more aggressive. Are the components built of not available any longer, are the old components too expensive to day for the way synths are manufactured or what?

Is it not possible to build modern synths with the sound quality of older analogs? Or ... ? Any idea?
This should answer your question

Go to 4:06 in this video

Also hilarious about the fighting in the video!!!

Old 30th July 2014
  #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
All it points out is that those people were old-fashioned and had no vision.
Heh, reminds me of this.
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