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Why does older analog synths sounds better than newer? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 27th July 2014
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEXUS-6 View Post
Its simple...

New synths have no magic fairy dust.. You see back in the day "magic fairy dust" was an important part of the synth manufacturing possess...

Nowadays its in very short supply so synths don't sound as good..
I don't know where you're from, but fairies are a dime-a-dozen around my neighborhood...
Old 27th July 2014
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
I think the Oberheim SEM remake sounds pretty amazing. I have one of those.
I'm curious of the new Oberheim SEM. Is the new one as good as the old one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
But my OB8 and my Pro One both sound fantastic. And both are capable of sounding modern. Not just locked into sounding "80s" - whatever that means. I lived through the 80s - I don't remember people sticking synths on a song and saying, "Hey man! Look! I wrote an 80s song!" like what seems to happen in droves today. A synth bass. Some synth chords. A synth lead and it's, "Hey! Look! I wrote an 80s song!" lol...

Between the modulations on the Pro One and the Page 2 options on the OB8 both machines are capable of amazingly modern stuff if you're creative enough.
When the digital era began in the early 80s I was excited about to hear the new groundbreaking DX7. I was very disappointed when I heard it - it wasn't close to my analog stuff, and I held on to my analog synths for a number of years. People complained about I didn't went digital but the sound didn't appeal to me.

Well, later on I bought DX7, TX816 and other digital synths and I love them (as far one don't solely play the factory presets). But my favorite sound is still that nasty old cat with bad claws - the early analogs. Is it that impossible to make machines with that sound anymore?
Old 27th July 2014
  #93
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John Foxx put it like this:

"Now we can have everything perfected, we’re beginning to realise that it’s actually the glitches and grit, the wonk and fut, that delight. In other words, what were considered imperfections can now be seen as qualities. You recognise the true signature."


DAVID BUCKLEY NEWS
Old 27th July 2014
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_apprentice View Post
They sound 'better' because they've been on the records you grew up with!
I don't get it.

I grew up listening to U2, The Cure and Cocteau Twins.

Old 27th July 2014
  #95
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It would be nice with some engineer as well as synth builders in the debate that can explain why it's not possible to make analog synths anymore with that older type of sound. Are the components emptied? Has Dave Smith and the other genius guys and their team that done it before forgot how they did it to be able to implement it to the new fantastic machines they now build? Does it require more power consumption that is not popular today? Is it due to the 440Hz vs 432Hz debate (432Hz is better)? Is it Kim Jong-Un's fault? Or what's wrong?

The new reissues of vintage analog compressors, that makes a good synth sound even better in the context of music, are as good as the older, if not even better in rare cases. So why not the same with analog synths?
Old 27th July 2014
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
I don't get it.

I grew up listening to U2, The Cure and Cocteau Twins.

And? Do you find yourself using some of the tones they had?
Old 27th July 2014
  #97
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Just to throw a thought into the mix here. I love synth music, (not so much EDM). I grew up in the 80s listening to The Cure, Depeche, Erasure, Ultravox etc.

Now the new breed of synths will sound different than the 70/80s breed, everyone forgetting back then recordings were all analogue based. Consoles, recording equipment, manufacturing processes etc, now its nearly 100% digital based.
Its all too perfect. But I still love synths new and old.. But to me its the whole recording process thats altered the end user sound.....
Old 27th July 2014
  #98
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I grew up listening to The Offspring and now I make prog metal with a Juno. It's certainly not nostalgia. I actually bought it thinking it would give me something else and found its qualities appealing and let them influence my music. It's not some classic holy grail sound I'm using it for either, I just find it enhances the spectral qualities of my work so it's worth my money and my time. You spend money on mixing so why wouldn't you do that on the right synth for the job?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
The new reissues of vintage analog compressors, that makes a good synth sound even better in the context of music, are as good as the older, if not even better in rare cases. So why not the same with analog synths?
I think professional producers and engineers may be more observant to the specs and qualities of their equipment, meanwhile having larger budgets than the average musician, resulting in a better market for high end compressors and the like. Maybe.

Although of course there are some top end synth makers as well, and I wouldn't say they fail miserably in their attempts at making well sounding instruments.
Old 27th July 2014
  #99
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_Jezz View Post
He he ... well done ... still didn't mention that terrible process by which we are now communicating by default and by which all our sounds are ultimately delivered ... anyone still using C90 cassettes?
C60 here...I bought a huge lot of chrome cassettes on craigslist 4-5 years back.
Old 27th July 2014
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyklane View Post
C60 here...I bought a huge lot of chrome cassettes on craigslist 4-5 years back.
Yes, C60 sounds better than C90, due to the tapes are thicker. But nowadays I use UAD2s Studer tape simulator instead, sounds really good an analog on transient rich sounds. Did you know that the break engine on a Studer 2" tape recorder was 1/2 horsepower strong? Good to know if trying tape scratches with it
Old 27th July 2014
  #101
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by goony View Post
Just to throw a thought into the mix here. I love synth music, (not so much EDM). I grew up in the 80s listening to The Cure, Depeche, Erasure, Ultravox etc.

Now the new breed of synths will sound different than the 70/80s breed, everyone forgetting back then recordings were all analogue based. Consoles, recording equipment, manufacturing processes etc, now its nearly 100% digital based.
Its all too perfect. But I still love synths new and old.. But to me its the whole recording process thats altered the end user sound.....
^^^^THIS.

He's right. Recording on tape and mixing to tape is more likely to make recordings of synths from the 70's and 80's sound different than the synthesizers themselves.

Having grown up playing and recording synths since the early 70's, I personally don't buy the whole "older is better" shtick. For many, I think there's a whole nostalgia thing going on, combined with some kind of perceived mojo (and fair dust, as others have mentioned). It's more psychological than actually audible, other than the fact that synths from various manufacturers can have different qualities, whether they are old or new.

But if you like playing vintage synths, and it makes you happy to own them and look at them, and if you're inspired by them, then that's great. If you're compelled to bid against collectors and spend the big bucks to own them, then knock yourself out. Lots of people like vintage cars, vintage guitars, vintage radios, etc.
Old 27th July 2014
  #102
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pointsource's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goony View Post
Just to throw a thought into the mix here. I love synth music, (not so much EDM). I grew up in the 80s listening to The Cure, Depeche, Erasure, Ultravox etc.

Now the new breed of synths will sound different than the 70/80s breed, everyone forgetting back then recordings were all analogue based. Consoles, recording equipment, manufacturing processes etc, now its nearly 100% digital based.
Its all too perfect. But I still love synths new and old.. But to me its the whole recording process thats altered the end user sound.....
You pretty much nailed it.


The job performed by the electronic components there's nothing to do with the character of sound.

The difference between modern and old components is the tolerance levels.

Today we have 1% and .1% resistors, capacitors, etc...


However, I read somewhere that using carbon based resistors instead of metal film provides some pleasant harmonic distortion, but I don't know if it's thruth.
Old 27th July 2014
  #103
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
The wooden panel of my Oberheim Xpander has been stretched out and resonance, sounds great now. The wooden panel of my Voyager has not been stretched out yet, no resonance, but it comes and then it will sound like my former Model D. I knew it: There is something special with wooden panels!
There is something special with matter and vibration in general. Well played instruments do sound better than bad or never played ones. That applys to the housings of synthezisers and fx pedals too.

But it also effects the aging of electronic components. Some age in beautifull ways..others just die. Especially old synths that never get played show the just die bug a lot while the ones regulary played last for decades.

Some vintage synths have a gorgeous sound to them and some badly treated or just untouched ones sound rather not so exciting. Since the well sounding models often are the bit worn out looking ones i assume that we are not only dealing with component tolerances here but also to structural phenomenons related to vibration that effect the components. but i only assume that. It very well can be just magic.

You know..music and magic do have something in common and musical instruments maybe too. But i very well also can see that it just might be by lucky accident..The cosmic lottery has dialed a perfect cocktail of component tollerances..and there you have the better sound.. Lucky accident .. the answer to all that dont has answers..

In any case older components do sound different..aging and different production routines play their part. That goes down to the more noisy resitors and slower diodes in the rectifier stages. Modern components do sound cleaner..but cleaner is not necessarily better in a analog synth.

So while the inherent magic of a well played instrument is nothing the mean technocrat is able to digest or grasp, the different technical properties of modern components are documented and can be measured. And that more distortion is often experienced as more musical should be something everybody should be able to agree on by now.
Old 27th July 2014
  #104
Quote:
Originally Posted by azone2 View Post
Nonsense. Where did that idea come from? I wasn't even born when most of these vintage synths came out, there's a damn likely chance you're older than me. I grew up with romplers and virtual analog. I thought ReBirth sounded great ... until I got my hands on a real TB-303. I thought VAZ Modular sounded pretty good.. until I got my hands on a FVS-1 and Odyssey. I have been fortunate enough to have access to these (sometimes expensive) analog synths, new and old, and agree in many cases that the favorable sound (to many of us) has not been matched often.
Your use of the word nonsense, is in itself, nonsense. There are undeniable, well documented effects of nostalgia. Our emotional brain has incredible power. It does things, and creates experiences and realities without us even knowing it. Also well documented, the effects of purchase price, rarity, public opinion, and other information regarding our procurement of such objects be it classic cars, an old Victorian home, or an old synthesizer.

There is an ongoing theme lately here on gearslutz that people seem to think that they are above the basic psychological practices that all people partake in. Everyone seems to take offense that anyone would suggest that it may be possible for one to be influenced by such a thing as nostalgia or confirmation bias. It is not a weakness, it is HUMAN.

I have a degree in Psych so I try not to cram this stuff down people's throats. But no one, and I mean no one, is immune their own human psychology.

You are right, many would say that the classics sound better. I would say so too, for the most part. I'm 36 and grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, and lots of other 80's synth music.

But that doesn't mean that is is better. How do we even define better? Human choice, opinion, which is something that is confounded by almost endless life experiences that we cannot measure individually.

Yeah, most if the old stuff sounds better. But what is better? It isn't very concrete.

Nostalgia is most certainly not nonsense and is shaped by our everyday life.
Old 27th July 2014
  #105
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With all respect: There are many in this thread/subject only referring these older synths to nothing else than 80s nostalgia. Well, the 80s were good in many ways, but the use of synths is another universe today, so much more sophisticated and creative (I didn't said more musical).

I love to hear and participate of how these young guys (I'm not that old, but I'm not 20 any longer as you can see at my avatar - As a wanna-be-rock-star I use shades to not revile my age ) are creative with synths. When the new generation synth geaks (my oldest son is one of these producers) play analog synths they makes it in a way that I never thought of before, a new way that in many ways is superior to the 80s synth music, by not just hit cool notes, but continually crank out everything that can be crankt out of an analog synth, through stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc.

Therefore, in my ears, older analog synths not only sounds good as 80s nostalgica, but so much better today, in the hands of the young guys, making music for today. As synth geak I love it! Im hungry and learn from it and apply to my music, in my personal way and transform it to my music. That's what I like with older analog synths today - "Don't put Baby in a corner".
Old 27th July 2014
  #106
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
When the new generation synth geaks (my oldest son is one of these producers) play analog synths they makes it in a way that I never thought of before, a new way that in many ways is superior to the 80s synth music, by not just hit cool notes, but continually crank out everything that can be crankt out of an analog synth, through stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc.

Therefore, in my ears, older analog synths not only sounds good as 80s nostalgica, but so much better today, in the hands of the young guys, making music for today. As synth geak I love it! Im hungry and learn from it and apply to my music, in my personal way and transform it to my music. That's what I like with older analog synths today.
But with all of this "...stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc....", why are older analogs necessary? Couldn't they just do the same with modern instruments? Or are the vintage ones just fun and cool to use, regardless of any perceived audible differences?
Old 27th July 2014
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
But with all of this "...stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc....", why are older analogs necessary? Couldn't they just do the same with modern instruments? Or are the vintage ones just fun and cool to use, regardless of any perceived audible differences?
Good question! Booth: A good instrument has a good interface and a good sound. Of course, all sounds are not going that way, it's just an example of how much more creative many of these young guys are with analog synths.

I'm talking about electronic music: It's very much focus on the sound today, many times more important, or as important, as the music itself. That's why many young guys, for instance pay $3000 (or what the price tag is today, I don't know exactly) for a 909 drum machine, just for a kick drum - because of THAT SOUND. This is just an observation I've done. I love the sound of older analog synths for other already mentioned reasons.
Old 27th July 2014
  #108
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I'm 24 and although I use my synths in a rather traditional fashion they're used in arrangements quite unlike what came out when they were made; a product of my liking their sound and finding a way to implement that into my mainly guitar based music. I don't really see the resemblance to 80's music, because the end result is so different. I'm confident that the nostalgia for the 80's is not a significant factor.

The fact that I can use boring old sounds and make something very nice sounding and unique without too much effort spent on programming or processing is worth a lot to me. I never found a modern instrument that gave me just what I wanted, but a few of the old ones do.
Old 27th July 2014
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
But with all of this "...stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc....", why are older analogs necessary? Couldn't they just do the same with modern instruments? Or are the vintage ones just fun and cool to use, regardless of any perceived audible differences?

Yes, they are also fun and cool to use, but I think Analog Prophet is saying that THE SOUND is driving both the want of vintage analog synths AND inspiring the music (perhaps more than the past, where music drove the sound, now sound drives the music... in the real world examples he's citing).

I don't think it's anything to disagree with, it is what it is. Not sure why it's so hard to believe "sound" really IS the reason many (most) people love certain synths.

-a
Old 27th July 2014
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
Yes, they are also fun and cool to use, but I think Analog Prophet is saying that THE SOUND is driving both the want of vintage analog synths AND inspiring the music (perhaps more than the past, where music drove the sound, now sound drives the music... in the real world examples he's citing).
Amen! Great interpretation of the Prophet
Old 27th July 2014
  #111
Gear Maniac
 

a spring reverb can really help otherwise i think it's the age of the components.
Old 27th July 2014
  #112
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Originally Posted by Synthetic Wav View Post
a spring reverb can really help otherwise i think it's the age of the components.
Spring reverbs are becoming more popular now, for reasons I can't understand, but not less true that some likes it anyhow. I prefer spring roles
Old 27th July 2014
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
Spring reverbs are becoming more popular now, for reasons I can't understand, but not less true that some likes it anyhow.
cause to me it can bring the vintage feel , it can give me shivers.. neve sound can do the same to me it can be magical sometimes.
Old 27th July 2014
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthetic Wav View Post
cause to me it can bring the vintage feel , it can give me shivers.. neve sound can do the same to me it can be magical sometimes.
Whatever it takes to take you there
Old 27th July 2014
  #115
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I think a lot of it has to do with less tolerance and cleaner vca's. You can still get great new analogue it just costs more.

Macbeth stuff is amazing
My music easel is amazing
My fenix2 is amazing
Moslab and some modulars amazing
Old 27th July 2014
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
Recording on tape and mixing to tape is more likely to make recordings of synths from the 70's and 80's sound different than the synthesizers themselves.
Speaking as someone who still often records to tape and uses a fair amount of vintage recording equipment (plenty of modern gear too, but I can keep it vintage from start to finish if I want), no way is this true... absolutely not.

If you've used all kinds of equipment from vintage to modern for years, you are entitled to an opinion about what your experiences have been like, the results you've gotten and what you prefer. Might be new gear, might be old gear. There is plenty of hype about the latest and greatest this or that, easily as much as for vintage gear. Some people buy into the hype, and others become overly sceptical because of the hype (maybe they bought whatever it was and discovered that there is no magic, skill is always needed). Human nature I suppose.

I love having a sound palette that includes synths from all eras anyway... the old ones do sound different, it's hard to find modern gear with the same vibe, and yes I often like the sound better, so what?
Old 27th July 2014
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keybdwizrd View Post
Having grown up playing and recording synths since the early 70's, I personally don't buy the whole "older is better" shtick. For many, I think there's a whole nostalgia thing going on, combined with some kind of perceived mojo (and fair dust, as others have mentioned). It's more psychological than actually audible, other than the fact that synths from various manufacturers can have different qualities, whether they are old or new.
I agree about the dubious maxim "older is better" but can't agree that the differences are more psychological than audible. If you lived nearby I'd gladly invite you over to my studio to test for yourself the (often) remarkable difference between the raw sound of vintage synths and modern ones (I realize you've been playing for a long time but maybe you've forgotten).

This topic is a minefield because it's true, some people really into vintage synths swear by them, reject most everything new, and ruffle feathers in the process. But I think both have value -- otherwise I wouldn't have a Voyager XL, Little Phatty, Dark Energy, Mono Lancet, A-100 System etc sitting in the studio alongside my vintage stuff. Modern synths sound great. Just different. And there are ways to inject a bit of "vintage mojo" into them if one feels it's lacking. For example, the Vermona Retroverb Lancet can work wonders!
Old 27th July 2014
  #118
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Rose-tinted hearing aids and collector's mentality.
Old 27th July 2014
  #119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
With all respect: There are many in this thread/subject only referring these older synths to nothing else than 80s nostalgia. Well, the 80s were good in many ways, but the use of synths is another universe today, so much more sophisticated and creative (I didn't said more musical).

I love to hear and participate of how these young guys (I'm not that old, but I'm not 20 any longer as you can see at my avatar - As a wanna-be-rock-star I use shades to not revile my age ) are creative with synths. When the new generation synth geaks (my oldest son is one of these producers) play analog synths they makes it in a way that I never thought of before, a new way that in many ways is superior to the 80s synth music, by not just hit cool notes, but continually crank out everything that can be crankt out of an analog synth, through stutter and side chain compressors, in to samplers and then back reversed through different filters with self oscillating tape delays etc.

Therefore, in my ears, older analog synths not only sounds good as 80s nostalgica, but so much better today, in the hands of the young guys, making music for today. As synth geak I love it! Im hungry and learn from it and apply to my music, in my personal way and transform it to my music. That's what I like with older analog synths today - "Don't put Baby in a corner".
Of course it isn't just nostalgia, and I think we need to be clear what nostalgia is. Its simply a factor, small for some, maybe larger for others.

Our brains have neurons criss-crossing all over the place. In the human brain, in particular, more so than any other animal, the emotion centers (which are huge in human brains) are particularly close to the memory centers. It is this reason that disorders like PTSD are so difficult to treat. Our senses, particularly the olafactory (smell) and auditory (hearing) cortex exist just lateral to these subcortical emotion and memory centers as well.

Ever smell your grandmother's pasta sauce or fresh bread baking? It may have been twenty years since you last smelled that scent, and couldn't describe the smell if someone asked us to, but when we finally do, you get a massive rush of emotion, good or bad. It is a subconscious process that we can't control. In the US the smell of a turkey roasting is most likely associated with a sense of family, or our childhood home during the Holiday season.

I love the sound of a Moog trumpet type patch. Either a saw or pulse, maybe both with that really soft, swelling sound that has a good bit of release. It reminds me, vividly of when I was discovering Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here) at the age of fifteen, driving around in my friend's mom's car doing what teenagers do (puff,puff, pass) when they listen to Pink Floyd.

Its not a defect of thought, but a wonderful demonstration of how powerful our brains are, even though I can't find my keys I set down five minutes ago.

Not at all the reason those synths sound better, but definitely a factor that helps us form our opinion.

Sorry to get all neuroscience here. It is my life's work.
Old 27th July 2014
  #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelican View Post
I think a lot of it has to do with less tolerance and cleaner vca's. You can still get great new analogue it just costs more.

Macbeth stuff is amazing
My music easel is amazing
My fenix2 is amazing
Moslab and some modulars amazing
I checked out Macbeth and yes, they really sounds amazing
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