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Why does older analog synths sounds better than newer? Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 26th July 2014
  #1
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Why does older analog synths sounds better than newer?

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?
Old 26th July 2014
  #2
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I guess it's possible - I find the Minitaur to sound very much like a vintage mono synth. Can't say the same for Voyager or Phatties.
Old 26th July 2014
  #3
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modern day components?
ironing out 'flaws' on purpose?
Old 26th July 2014
  #4
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Honestly, they don't. They just don't. They have that 80s sound which some people are after but I personally don't care for cheesey 80s pop (oh god I can already feel the hate from GS coming), they are more about nostalgia than anything else.
Old 26th July 2014
  #5
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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 26th July 2014
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post
Is it not possible to build modern synths with the sound quality of older analogs? Or ... ? Any idea?
It's very much a matter of taste as to whether or not vintage synths sound better than modern ones.

But in terms of capturing "vintage vibe" in a modern synth, the Macbeth Micromac-D convinced me that it's possible. It sounds like it was built in the 70s and then time-warped to the present.

It's true that 80s synths can lock you into a sound you might not want and need to work against. Somehow I find the 70s sound more timeless and contemporary (which sounds crazy, I know).

Anyway, Macbeth knows how to build 'em!
Old 26th July 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
It's very much a matter of taste as to whether or not vintage synths sound better than modern ones.

But in terms of capturing "vintage vibe" in a modern synth, the Macbeth Micromac-D convinced me that it's possible. It sounds like it was built in the 70s and then time-warped to the present.

It's true that 80s synths can lock you into a sound you might not want and need to work against. Somehow I find the 70s sound more timeless and contemporary (which sounds crazy, I know).

Anyway, Macbeth knows how to build 'em!

This.

And I'll add, I think price and cost are a key issue.

Today, we demand everything for nothing, so synth manufacturers (for the most part) HAVE to build cheaper synths... which means cheaper components, etc.

We have to remember, the classic synths back in the day were made at a much higher price-point and were designed for a much more professional market.

(I know some people don't want to hear that, but its true... it wasn't a "hobby" market like a bulk of consumers are today).

-a
Old 26th July 2014
  #8
I also think aged capacitors makes quite a big impact. After I had my OB8 recapped - it was much cleaner...more modern...

Surpsingly - I find the tone of the Xenophone hypersynth to be one of the most vintage sounding modern analogue Ive heard...I actually quite rarely like the tone of modern analogues...but also the modular and macbeth stuff sounds good...
Old 26th July 2014
  #9
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tehlord's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
This.

And I'll add, I think price and cost are a key issue.

Today, we demand everything for nothing, so synth manufacturers (for the most part) HAVE to build cheaper synths... which means cheaper components, etc.

We have to remember, the classic synths back in the day were made at a much higher price-point and were designed for a much more professional market.

(I know some people don't want to hear that, but its true... it wasn't a "hobby" market like a bulk of consumers are today).

-a

This pretty much sums it up.

Adjusting for inflation a Jupter 8 was probably more than $10k new for example.
Old 26th July 2014
  #10
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Who did you recap Steve?
Old 26th July 2014
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naugo View Post
Honestly, they don't. They just don't.
Agreed.

I think Diva sounds better than most of those old synths, but when I'm trying to recreate those old tones, it's just not "right."

Some people mistake that for the old stuff sounding better. I don't, just different.
Old 26th July 2014
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbump View Post
Who did you recap Steve?
the synth prof
Old 26th July 2014
  #13
Its the parts, parts now are not made as well.
Old 26th July 2014
  #14
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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.
Old 26th July 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disease Factory View Post
Its the parts, parts now are not made as well.
Or maybe too well?
Old 26th July 2014
  #16
I think the older parts were made with better materials, older synths were more discrete.

I still think modern analogs sound great, the dsi stuff, the moog stuff, the boom star, the modular stuff and the mfb stuff.
Old 26th July 2014
  #17
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I just want to clarify...

While I say the older synths were made at higher price-points and thus used better components, build etc.

I ALSO want to say we are incredibly fortunate to have as many great AFFORDABLE synths being made for use today (Dave Smith being one of the guys who has bridge the gap between the two for us )

And btw- Some of the "cheap" synths of the past are still favorites today... TB303, Wasp, etc. anyone?

-Andrews
Old 26th July 2014
  #18
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disease Factory View Post
older synths were more discrete.
I know, right? Synths today have no shame. I saw a couple of them getting into second base right there on the street! Sharing control voltages and all. Told them to get the hell out of my lawn.
Old 26th July 2014
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maisonvague View Post
But in terms of capturing "vintage vibe" in a modern synth, the Macbeth Micromac-D convinced me that it's possible. It sounds like it was built in the 70s and then time-warped to the present.
I think the Vermona Mono Lancet has got it as well. Maybe not spot on, but cheaper.
Old 26th July 2014
  #20
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Don Solaris's Avatar
It is mostly about transistors. Anyone can verify it. i.e. if you build one of the TB303 clones, you will never get that original 303 squelch unless you get a few of the original transistors (there are like 3 or 4 critical ones, others can be off the shelf).

Electrolyte capacitors, don't have that much with the sound. Once they dry out, synth becomes difficult to tune and loses some low end of the spectra, and that's about it.
Old 26th July 2014
  #21
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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?
I would offer this idea. Perhaps, we think so fondly towards those synth sounds, because they were the original sounds that shaped a movement.
Old 26th July 2014
  #22
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I disagree. Being able to get a warranty on a synth just gives it that analog goodness.
Old 26th July 2014
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicncars View Post
I would offer this idea. Perhaps, we think so fondly towards those synth sounds, because they were the original sounds that shaped a movement.
May be.

We can send out advanced vehicles out of the solar system with music onboard, but we can't make that sound they carry any longer. Wrong marketing to the aliens - they will be mad

BTW, wasn't the name of that satellite Voyager? Sounds familiar....
Old 26th July 2014
  #24
Because old people say that they do.

Edit: I'm kidding.....sorta.

But seriously, there is a bit of, "back in my day....they don't make it like they used to...etc."

We all like and wish for the way things once were. It takes time to usually realize that what we have right now, is actually pretty special as well. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.
Old 26th July 2014
  #25
I'm going to say this.. Slim Phatty to me I like more than the model D and voyager.

Dsi prophet 12, i like it more than juno 106, mks 80, and ob8.

Boomstar 4075 I like more than my sh2, more than my sh09, more than my micromoog.

Mopho x4 I like more than the prophet 5, more than the mks 30, more than the akai analogs.

Still of the old gear: Mks 50 and juno 60 cannot be beat, jupiter 8 nothing can touch, obxa for analog strings is amazing, then there are all the analog string machines that nothing can replace.

So in s sense, i think a lot of new analog gear is better than a lot of the old stuff.

DF
Old 26th July 2014
  #26
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I wouldn't say it is specificly about capacitors or transistors or opamps or whatever. All parts in general were produced with much higher tolerances in the past (pre ROHS era especially). The precision we hear in modern electronic gear is not man made but due to tightly computer monitored production methods. If you want the parts from the past you would have to get new old stock or you would have to reanimate the orginal machines that produced those original parts. Very difficult and expensive to do in a modern global industry. Manfacturers nowadays have to take what the contemporary electronic industry gives them. BTW: This process continues relentlessly. Even a digital Roland JV-2080 sounds mucho warmer than an Integra-7. No way to turn back the hands of time.
Old 26th July 2014
  #27
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NEXUS-6's Avatar
 

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 know a guy who knows a guy that can get some his name is Sam...

Old 26th July 2014
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analog Prophet View Post

BTW, wasn't the name of that satellite Voyager? Sounds familiar....

Yep there is a Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. They did these weird things where they made sounds from the vibrations of the different planets. I have the Neptune and Earth CD and would like to sample them someday.
Old 26th July 2014
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disease Factory View Post
i think a lot of new analog gear is better than a lot of the old stuff.
I agera, some are. But they are different too.

There are better food as well, but I prefer that old grandma's food and cookies, nothing can beat that, so to speak. Similar too that old synth sound - someone, give me that, please.
Old 26th July 2014
  #30
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robot gigante's Avatar
One thing that doesn't come up much in these discussions are the engineers designing them - we have many excellent software programmers but there are fewer masters of analog electronics. And those that are maybe are not designing synthesizers - there is no equivalent to someone like Dave Hill designing new synths.

So we get rehashes of old designs but with new parts that don't sound the same. And the people rehashing them have either been around since forever or mostly (I think) just don't have the same skills and knowledge.

Also, building to a cheaper price point not only means cheaper components but less money spent on R&D.

Which is not to say that the new stuff sounds bad... some of it does of course. 70's gear sounds the best to me though, more 'electric.'
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