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Virtual Instruments as the real thing
Old 23rd August 2005
  #1
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Sobe's Avatar
 

Virtual Instruments as the real thing

I have racks of synths and would like to have it all on the screen and get everything in software so it is just a master keyboard and a couple of 30" Apple monitors . Are we there yet can you do this and have the same sound quality as the real thing ? Obviously you can when it comes to the sampler but how about the synth side of things . I would be so nice to go completely virtual but do you think there is a compromise in sound quality .
Old 23rd August 2005
  #2
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobe
I have racks of synths and would like to have it all on the screen and get everything in software so it is just a master keyboard and a couple of 30" Apple monitors . Are we there yet can you do this and have the same sound quality as the real thing ?
Nope. Softsynths sounds flat and boring compared to analog and digital outboard synths..

Quote:
Obviously you can when it comes to the sampler
Wrong. This happen for (good) samplers too..

Quote:
[
I would be so nice to go completely virtual but do you think there is a compromise in sound quality .
Nope. I tried to go virtual but prefer 3 good outboard synth vs 10 mediocre softsynths..
Old 23rd August 2005
  #3
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with Native Instruments Kontakt and Logic's ESX24 bussed right into ProTools at 96k with samples and presets that have unlimited ram our E4's are never turned on anymore ....
Old 23rd August 2005
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobe
with Native Instruments Kontakt and Logic's ESX24 bussed right into ProTools at 96k with samples and presets that have unlimited ram our E4's are never turned on anymore ....
Yes, for samplers the difference is less than synths, anyway i made a test about 1 year ago with an old Roland S-770 (same samples) which i still have and preferred the sound of sampler vs kontakt..
Old 23rd August 2005
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by esiclene
Nope. Softsynths sounds flat and boring compared to analog and digital outboard synths..


Wrong. This happen for (good) samplers too..


Nope. I tried to go virtual but prefer 3 good outboard synth vs 10 mediocre softsynths..
I agree , I think the sampler in your computer is way better than the synth in your computer.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #6
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It depends. If you've got good outboard, I'd recommend the soft synth route as long as you have at least 1 hardware synth for bass.

I think soft synths combined with hardware distortion/compression/EQ is the way to go. WAY easier patch management.

Hardware makes me monkey around too much regarding saving my patches with my sequencer.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #7
9321
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobe
I have racks of synths and would like to have it all on the screen and get everything in software so it is just a master keyboard and a couple of 30" Apple monitors . Are we there yet can you do this and have the same sound quality as the real thing ? Obviously you can when it comes to the sampler but how about the synth side of things . I would be so nice to go completely virtual but do you think there is a compromise in sound quality .
Dude..

If you're A/B-ing them then NO comparison. BUT.... If you are making music with them no one will be able to tell what you use. I use to have over 50 keyboards at one time. The softsynths are a welcome to saving space and time plugging things up (and if you're like me and got old school boards they'll need time to warm up too)
Funny I just had this conversation with a engineer/producer friend of mine. And he said if you don't tell they will never know as well as if you know how to tweak things to get it sounding the way you need it to sound, they will never know.
Which is why so many threads are posting up asking.. "What did they use?"

He said this and it's true.."Please tell me one record that you can name what they used and you weren't there" Also in that same case using a moog or odessy without recall the artist probably couldn't even tell you what the EXACT settings were..

I'm saying all that to say, if you know how to make it work it will.
T.
thumbsup
Old 23rd August 2005
  #8
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bass is kind of tricky ... using a rack mount Moog or a SE1 for bass and do not know of a software synth program that sounds the same . It would just be nice to have it all in the box w/ total recall , no noise etc . I think the way to do it right is to run them all on a separate Mac and not the computer Pro-Tools is in .
Old 23rd August 2005
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esiclene
Nope. Softsynths sounds flat and boring compared to analog and digital outboard synths..


Wrong. This happen for (good) samplers too..


Nope. I tried to go virtual but prefer 3 good outboard synth vs 10 mediocre softsynths..
Old 23rd August 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab
I agree , I think the sampler in your computer is way better than the synth in your computer.
LOL! heh heh

For what it's worth, the circuitry of hardware samplers really can add a nice character. Those S770's have a sound, for sure (if you can get them to boot). I worked for a composer who had a 6' rack full of them.

I was working on a song recently where we wanted a melotron type of vibe- I tried a couple plugs that sounded really good, but in the end it was my old 8bit Ensoniq Mirage(!) that gave the tune what it needed most.

Plus, the increasing reliance on software plugins is making me nervous, if for some reason someday my favorites are no longer available, can't be authorized/reauthorized, or incompabitible with new platforms. But, sometimes you can't beat the economic and ergonomic benefits.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #11
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caseyLA's Avatar
 

I've been running the Albino softsynth through a Dual Rectifier.

It's kinda tasty.

heh
Old 23rd August 2005
  #12
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I have abandoned my search for the ultimate soft synth solution and am now looking for a vintage Juno 6....

Why I hate soft synths

They rarely sit in the mix without arduous tweaking
They suck the life out of my computer which is not helpful as the track count increases.
NI and all their Kompakt, Kontakt etc etc, have the most invisible tech support on the planet. They never respond to email.
Gigastudio requires a dedicated machine, although its probably one of the best solutions.
Absolutely no resale value, even a Presonus preamp can be sold on ebay. You can invest $1000 in software and that's the end of the road.

My JV 1080 still kicks the butt of most software solutions.

I do have one favorite soft piano which is remarkably convenient but slightly unstable and that's this new Grand Piano from Art Vista. At least it sits in a mix, loads fast and is only $100.

Overall, soft synths really don't make for productive, high quality art. As background music where the music is not the focus, i.e. movies, they can be adequete. For high art and creativity, they suck.

One man's humble opinion and experience.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #13
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cold c's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone
Absolutely no resale value, even a Presonus preamp can be sold on ebay. You can invest $1000 in software and that's the end of the road.
Slight exageration bordering on fiction (like some other content in this thread).

It usually depends on how cooperative the developer is with regards to licence transfers. If you look at the marketplace forum on kvr there are many software licences being sold and transferred (and not at zero resale value).

Purchasing a second hand preamp on the other hand would have risks that buying some second hand software won't, as some software can be backed up or redownloaded whereas the second hand preamp can have physical faults. Furthermore, some software and licences can be delivered more easily than hardware, by sending licence information or files via the internet.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cold c
Slight exageration bordering on fiction (like some other content in this thread).

It usually depends on how cooperative the developer is with regards to licence transfers. If you look at the marketplace forum on kvr there are many software licences being sold and transferred (and not at zero resale value).

Purchasing a second hand preamp on the other hand would have risks that buying some second hand software won't, as some software can be backed up or redownloaded whereas the second hand preamp can have physical faults. Furthermore, some software and licences can be delivered more easily than hardware, by sending licence information or files via the internet.
Granted, a bad example on my part. However, the software does not go up in value and the resale value is generally much lower than hardware. Finding a buyer is not always easy. I sold a soft piano on ebay last year and it took me 3 weeks to get a buyer, I ended up selling a brand new unopened piano sampler for 50% less than I purchased the product for. I generally can get within 10-15% of hardware original costs on the resale.

I stand by the fact that software is a poor investment when you look to move up or out of the sounds.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #15
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Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone
I stand by the fact that software is a poor investment when you look to move up or out of the sounds.
Truth. You never really "buy" software, you just kind of rent it for a while. The only way around it is to put together a legacy system and never update or do every other update. I put my first DAW together in 1998 and it's still running CD Architect 4 as well today as it did then.

As for hardware vs. software synths, does it really matter? It's all just software and algorithms right? Do you want them inside a PC or do you want them to be in a dedicated black box?

Given the choice, I'd rather have a real B3, Whurly or Mellotron that's been maintained then then any kind of synth.
Old 23rd August 2005
  #16
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Quote:
Given the choice, I'd rather have a real B3, Whurly or Mellotron that's been maintained then then any kind of synth
true but we are talking about midi instruments .....
Old 24th August 2005
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Software can do some awesome stuff that there's no real hardware equivalent for ('cept for KYMA... but KYMA can do everything). I'm not aware of any hardware synths that handle additive resynthesis or granular syntheis, for example, and software is really the only versatile way to go for physical modeling.

For sampling, software really blows away anything hardware. The ability to handle large libraries, and the ease of editing samples with a mouse makes the workflow approximately a billion or so times smoother.

I think the only place where software falls on its face is emulation of anything "analog". But this is all really just a precursor to what my post is really about.

Wanking moog solos. What is it about moog hardware that makes people want to play the most immensely tasteless prog-rock solo's as soon as they get their hands on it? Even moog emulations suffer from this horrible wetware problem, and I think it's something that needs to be stopped immediately.
Old 24th August 2005
  #18
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Everyone who thinks that Virtual analog synths can't come anywhere close to real analog synths have obviously never heard Gmedias Odditty, Imposcar, or Minimonsta. They also haven't heard Wayoutwares ARP 2600 emulation.

The audio demos are at the websites.

http://www.wayoutware.com/twarpsamples.html

http://www.gmediamusic.com/
Old 24th August 2005
  #19
Gear Head
 

I agree on almost all but just a note
Quote:
For sampling, software really blows away anything hardware. The ability to handle large libraries, and the ease of editing samples with a mouse makes the workflow approximately a billion or so times smoother.
Just talking about the S-770, envelopes and digital filters are unmatched by any sampler software. I mean the same groove is fat on the sampler and flat in kontakt. Like the same difference between a mackie and a 1073..
I still use my mouse , monitor and controller on my S-770 which had all this functions in 1989 .
Do you really need GBs of samples?
Most oversized samples doesn't fit always good in a mix.
Think overused JD and kurzweil pianos. Tiny samples and great sound. Sit good in a mix (usually a dance one) way better than the 2 gb Boesendorfer.
The old roland library (12 bit,32 khz) had excellent samples in 50-60 kb while newer Korg triton has bad samples in much more MBs.
I still hear and recognize many samples from Roland (and old Korg Wavestation presets which had over 400 samples in just 4 MB!) in today productions.
For modern, in the mix, i often prefer samples from digital pianos (like yamaha or roland which are about 16-32Mb) than almost all GBs softpianos i have tried. Size doesn't mean quality.
Old 24th August 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Do you really need GBs of samples?
yes , yes, and yes again
Old 24th August 2005
  #21
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Oldone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by esiclene
Think overused JD and kurzweil pianos. Tiny samples and great sound. Sit good in a mix (usually a dance one) way better than the 2 gb Boesendorfer.

Completely agree. The Bosendorfer, if we are talking the PMI 290 takes a lot of work to sit in a mix.
Old 24th August 2005
  #22
9321
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by electro
Everyone who thinks that Virtual analog synths can't come anywhere close to real analog synths have obviously never heard Gmedias Odditty, Imposcar, or Minimonsta. They also haven't heard Wayoutwares ARP 2600 emulation.

The audio demos are at the websites.

http://www.wayoutware.com/twarpsamples.html

http://www.gmediamusic.com/

Don't forget the Arturia stuff.. Minimoog, Arp, CS80, etc. Also I do like Logic's clav.
Old 24th August 2005
  #23
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I like Novation, have both rack and software version. Some elements are missing in software, but sound-wise same sounds on both, I would say software version is even nicer sounding (no conversion).
To say simpy that all softsytnhs are boring and flat sounding is non-sense. How many hardware synts have ****ty sound?
So, take best of both world, I have 6-7 synths in hardware, Kurzweil and Roland as samplers, and hundreds softsynths (many of them free or pirate copies almost free). If I like some VSTi or software I buy it for support.
So, no answer is right if consider one solution only.

GYang
Old 24th August 2005
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esiclene
I agree on almost all but just a note

Just talking about the S-770, envelopes and digital filters are unmatched by any sampler software. I mean the same groove is fat on the sampler and flat in kontakt. Like the same difference between a mackie and a 1073..
I still use my mouse , monitor and controller on my S-770 which had all this functions in 1989 .
Do you really need GBs of samples?
Most oversized samples doesn't fit always good in a mix.
Think overused JD and kurzweil pianos. Tiny samples and great sound. Sit good in a mix (usually a dance one) way better than the 2 gb Boesendorfer.
The old roland library (12 bit,32 khz) had excellent samples in 50-60 kb while newer Korg triton has bad samples in much more MBs.
I still hear and recognize many samples from Roland (and old Korg Wavestation presets which had over 400 samples in just 4 MB!) in today productions.
For modern, in the mix, i often prefer samples from digital pianos (like yamaha or roland which are about 16-32Mb) than almost all GBs softpianos i have tried. Size doesn't mean quality.
Great post. The Emu E4 series samplers have this great quality where you sample something in, the most sludgiest sound, and it can give it this quality that lets it sit well in a mix yet still be punchy. Actually, now that I think of it, most Emu samplers that Ihave used have this (ie. Emax, SP-1200).
Old 24th August 2005
  #25
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I think another aspect of harware is that it´s more hands on, and at least I tend to use my ears more as opposed to my eyes when creating music.

The DAW´s are best for editing and automation in my world (soem effects are cool to mostly delays and modulation), I prefer to start out in hardware, record it and edit later in the DAW. I find that most songs entierly made in the DAW sounds a bit thin, to clean and a bit artificial.

A mix of different gear gives a more complex sound as opposed to everything comming from the same outputs, but I guess it depends on what´s your preference.

Some softsynths are cool though as the korg legacy. thumbsup



P.S I agree on what has been said about the e4 and other e-mu samplers, they sure have a special tone.
Old 24th August 2005
  #26
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My answer to the original post is another "nope not there yet" reply.

I mix tons of records for other producers and almost 100% of the time when tracks come in done with realy synths or keys they have a bigness, deapth and character that the emulations are missing. Even if the engineer did a crappy job of recording the real deal, it almost always sits better in the mix than the softsynth.
Old 24th August 2005
  #27
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Everything is going to have it's own sound "character", and as such may/may not have some value in a track. Just depends on how you use it. Don't think we're "there yet".... but as a part of something "bigger" I believe the softies have their place. I treat the softies like any other module or synth in the rack... another sound source to be used with something else.
Old 24th August 2005
  #28
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A while back, synths started to move into the territory of rackmount modules. I found that playing these from a master keyboard somehow affected my freedom to play the instrument compared to having the actual synth, with it's keyboard, infront of me.

Maybe it's becuase all the knobs and switches are to hand and maybe it's something less tangible like the way the look and feel of an instrument effects you.

I have the same problem with soft synths, and these days, this problem far outweighs the problem of sound quality for me.
Old 24th August 2005
  #29
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Sobe's Avatar
 

the really nice thing about the virtual synth is the timing , there is no midi delay etc and it keeps things really tight .
Old 24th August 2005
  #30
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phunkyt
Don't forget the Arturia stuff.. Minimoog, Arp, CS80, etc. Also I do like Logic's clav.
I've been messing with the Moog Modular for a couple of weeks. There's a difference between the way it sounds and some tracks I did with a Nord Lead a while back, but (as previously mentioned), running it through some hardware compression can start to get it closer. A little 'room' involving a speaker and a mic helps even more.
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