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I feel like people think that analog synthesis is superior to digital synthesis.

 

I have a tx81z and, while it's a bitch to program (it's not really that bad), I think the sounds that come out of it are great. It's like a big box of future noise but it's from 27 years ago. I also have access to an Arp 2600 (yeah, I get to play with an Arp. Fuck you) and while the sucker sounds phenomenal, I don't think it's a better synth than the Yamaha (I don't want to get into an argument of tx81z vs 2600, thanks though). The Yamaha is so much more flexible (polyphony is useful).

 

Why do synth manufacturers generally produce synths that are VA, when they could be making something that sounds, I don't know, unique (discuss)? Digital technology is supposedly so much more flexible than analog, and in the synth market it seems that a lot of digital technology is used just to rehash the past. Here's a novel idea: if you want something to sound analog, make it analog (Thanks Korg, you're smart, here's my money).

 

To my knowledge, a lot of albums I really enjoy were made using totally digital equipment, or even completely on a computer (e.g. Truant, Room(s))(surely a lot of albums I really enjoy were also made using analog equipment as well (e.g. Animals, Low)). So why is it that most synths that come out are intended to replicate old school gear?

 

I think digital synthesis is so much more flexible. You can obviously replicate (to a degree) analog gear. You can also do all kinds of other goofy shit.

 

Perhaps analog is more pleasing to the human ear (discuss, please), but I don't think so (but I don't know).

 

 

 

Am I supposed to have a point? Fuck, umm.... How about what digital synths do you love that are unabashedly digital? I really like my Ion (even though it's VA it's a beast of it's own). I also really like my samplers, and that shit is digital but it has a fuck ton of character. I've heard Waldorf stuff is really digital sounding (someone send me a blofeld, I'll let you know if it sounds digital). The M-audio Venom looks pretty interesting as well to me, because it it's a synth that makes sounds that are, you know, new.

 

I don't want it to seem like I hate analog stuff, but please argue with me.

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check out some of my posts here, i'm a huge proponent of digital hardware synths

I stole the phrase "analog fetishism" from you.

 

Elaborate.

 

(on an unrelated note, one time I got one of your cd's, and the title of a track was chrono synclastic infundibulum. Nice reference to my favorite KV novel.)

Edited by jmbf44
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Digital synths sound great, analogue synths sound great. Analogue modeling on digital sounds lame, and so does trying to get DX7 shit on analogue units. Emulation is the problem, not the sound source itself.

 

I also have access to an arp 2600 and an arp 2500 and they'd be better if they weren't super broken. Especially the 2500, it's basically unusable. 2600 is still one of my favorite things to mess with.

Edited by gmanyo
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Yeah, the 2600 I use has basically been used by university types since it was built. The majority of the sliders have become on off switches. I'm tempted to hose it down with deoxit, but it isn't really mine.

 

But I could spend years with the 2600. Man how much fun could be had with like 2 extra sine oscillators?

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I don't know why but digital is really seen is 'uncool' and it has nothing to do with anything, really.

 

 

Dunno, but maybe it's that people who don't know what they're doing are more likely to make good sounds on an analog synth than a digital one.

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I don't know why but digital is really seen is 'uncool' and it has nothing to do with anything, really.

 

 

Dunno, but maybe it's that people who don't know what they're doing are more likely to make good sounds on an analog synth than a digital one.

This is pretty much my point. Why is digital uncool? (on a related note, how do I become cool, help. sean pls)

 

VA synths are probably easier to edit but I think that's because people have been editing analog synths for so long. (to be honest I still have absolutely no idea what's going on while editing patches on my tx81. I also don't give a fuck that I don't know whats's going on.)(I don't think that was your point either though :) )

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Yes, digital should be and sound digital. Creating fake analogue with digital components is pointless. Digital is great, so is analogue. I just use them both in entirely different situations. Some sounds are better made with digital, others with analogue.

 

And if you do want to give digital that warm edge, run it through analogue fx, like a spring reverb, analogue echo or tape etc.

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tbh i think pop culture's last big analogue obsession started drying up around 2011, with synths in general now being accepted as purely melodic devices, and most hardcore texture experimentation coming in the form of sample mangling.

 

but uh imma second limpy. if you sit down with a analog synth & start arbitrarily turning knobs you're liable to get all sorts of cool Tangerine Dream noises in under two minutes. makes fokes go "ah yeh this here's what a REAL synth sounds like"

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I have had problems mostly with envelope, filter and component sound quality issues from most of the digital synths I've played, they have cool features, but the sound isn't nearly as round to me with big parameter changes or filter sweeps (of course depending on how they are controlled). That's all without mentioning the fact that 90% of digital synths I've messed with have had the most tedious editing when it came to really honing in a sound- and that, to someone like me, is a huge deal. Spontaneity is what makes music fun for me, not editing some box from the 80's one parameter at a time via two buttons and a 3 line digital screen. I do realize there are editors made for most any synth, I just guess I got the fetish of having tons of knobs and voltage.

 

I feel analog gear has its fetishism because of the history of sounds being made on them as well. People assume (somewhat rightly) that if they grab/can afford a minimoog, they can nail a moog-ish bassline or whatever using the piece of gear that has that signature sound or artists that have used that equipment. Don't take my words wrong, I love digital gear and it definitely has its place in any mix, style or studio. I just like analog gear better out of what I've tried.

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maybe because digital can't really do a good bass. and analog sounds "better" in general.

 

 

I say this as someone who considers themself really digital focused. i prefer messing with digital synths.

 

but soundwise and overall they're both equally important. 50/50.

 

 

edit: actually regarding BASS... digital can occasionally do a pretty good bass, particularly FM. but old FM stuff was a lot different... thick. there was something "analog" about it. those synths had similar architecture i would imagine to analog stuff at the time, which is why they tend to sound alive in the same way.

 

but still, generally old FM can only do really soft sine type bass sounds from what I've found, though it can do them well.

Edited by vamos scorcho
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tbh i think pop culture's last big analogue obsession started drying up around 2011

I don't know what you're talking about here, analogue synths are still 100% on the rise. Developers are making more new analogue stuff now than they have since the eighties or something.

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check out some of my posts here, i'm a huge proponent of digital hardware synths

I stole the phrase "analog fetishism" from you.

 

Elaborate.

 

(on an unrelated note, one time I got one of your cd's, and the title of a track was chrono synclastic infundibulum. Nice reference to my favorite KV novel.)

 

cool, if you like that KV reference you should check out this ;)

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=908841378/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

 

i'm pretty obsessed with mid 90s 'proof of concept' synths that no one really followed up on in the development area and just other unique hardware synths

 

examples:

 

Yamaha Vl1, Vl1m physical modeling synths

Yamaha FS1R fm synth with formant filtering and backwards compatibility with previous yamaha fms

Yamaha DX200 fm synth groovebox/pattern sequencer

Korg Wavedrum physical modeling hand percussion (original not the sample based remake)

Kawai K5000 additive synth

Nord Modular G1 and G2

Roland JD-990 and JD-800 yamaha-esque roland digital synths capable of fm-like timbres, pretty much insta-ambient machines

 

I've spent a lot of time with these synths and i think it continues to be very rewarding, i feel like i haven't even scratched the surface of the FS1r yet and i've owned it for almost a decade.

 

 

 

I want to get a Yamaha FB-01. I heard the demo on Youtube as was like 'wow this is a nice box'. Here's the demo.

 

get one dude, i picked one up on ebay for $40. The stock sounds on it are kind of mostly bad, but there are plenty of user kits out there and also a real-time software editor for windows. The drums in this thing sound pretty amazing, very bassy and thick, easily cut through mixes.

Dunno, but maybe it's that people who don't know what they're doing are more likely to make good sounds on an analog synth than a digital one.

interesting theory, maybe there is some truth to that. I think also people who aren't that expert in electronic music tend to hear the general consensus that analog is better and gravitate towards that too. It's like people who haven't heard enough of both default to that premise as if it's dogma.

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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Developers are making more new analogue stuff now than they have since the eighties or something.

see, to me that just plays into it. A few years back analogue synths were like mystical unicorns, with dudes constantly hunting old gear down on ebay, or shelling out for something some european guy made in his garage out of an old toaster. And everyone else was going if only i had old school hardware, my tracks would sound like the aphex twins!

 

now that you can walk into any gear store & pick up an analog synth for relatively cheap, folks are starting to see them more for what they are - a useful tool, but not a magical make everything lush tool

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I agree it's playing into it, and imo its a step backwards especially when you consider most new analog synths being made are actually very very simple mostly toy-like instruments. The few exceptions to this right now are things like the Elektron analog4 and Dave Smith prophet 12. But frankly we've never seen anything on the level of an Oberheim expander or even a Marion MSr-2 modular rack. The Marion modular was a 16 voice capable fully analog synthesizer in a tiny rack space. It's a fucking beast, but most of the analog market right now is marketed to people on a limited budget who aren't power users or who don't care much about sound design.
I'd be more interested in analog right now if it was future-thinking or just trying to push the envelope of analog synthesis capabilities, but 95% of the products are just literally retro-recreations or templates of old devices from past eras.It's a shame

Edited by John Ehrlichman
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They cost more now is all I'm saying. I wish it weren't true because I can't afford it but analogue synths are getting more popular by the minute, and probably won't fall in popularity for several years.

 

My school has a Yamaha TG-77 and it's great.

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Casio CZ is my favorite digital synth (any one of them, really). Being a Casio ROMpler enthusiast since I was like 7, it's the only synth I've ever owned where I was excited about the presets.

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I think non-broken analogue synths are usually easier, because they don't have weird FM shit and if we're talking vintage then digital synths usually have fewer controls. Operators are difficult to handle. Analogue is also easier to get "lush" sounds out of because generally the oscillators sound good enough that you barely need to touch them. You have to know what you're doing with FM synths.

 

Unless we're going modular, in which case they're way harder but give you tons of control.

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maybe because digital can't really do a good bass. and analog sounds "better" in general.

 

 

I say this as someone who considers themself really digital focused. i prefer messing with digital synths.

 

but soundwise and overall they're both equally important. 50/50.

 

 

edit: actually regarding BASS... digital can occasionally do a pretty good bass, particularly FM. but old FM stuff was a lot different... thick. there was something "analog" about it. those synths had similar architecture i would imagine to analog stuff at the time, which is why they tend to sound alive in the same way.

 

but still, generally old FM can only do really soft sine type bass sounds from what I've found, though it can do them well.

 

I disagree with almost everything here. It's impossible for a digital synth to make a good bass? What if you record a Moog onto a cd? Is that bass good bass or bad bass? What makes analog sound ""better"" in general? Is analog gear inherently better sounding that digital? Maybe human brains are wired to love analog waves and hate 1s and 0s?

 

What's the difference between old FM and new FM? Maybe all that analog dust that's built up over the years in the circuit makes it sound thick and alive. I don't think FM synthesis has really changed much. And I do believe FM synths can do more than only really soft sine type bass sounds. Maybe I'm wrong.

 

I have an FB01 as well. It's a pretty cool little box but I could never get it to talk with the editing software, so it's usefulness is limited for me. But I'm pretty dumb. I'll have to try again. I like the stock mallet percussion sounds on it though.

 

I've developed an interest in physical modeling stuff recently. Having a synth model physical properties that are editable beyond what you see in the real world seems like such a cool idea. Surely you can get a lot of interesting sounds that don't sound only like a real violin or whatever?

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A little over a decade ago software was getting huge and there was a perception that could emulate hardware and not have to worry about carting around heavy gear and shelling out huge money as it is cheaper or if you like free. Now you have a generation that was raised on plugins and aren't totally satisfied, so they have an interest in the older styled gear they hear on classic records. There is also a perception that digital synths are just computers running software, which everyone already has access to, so why spend money on it? (I'm not saying that that necessarily is true about digital gear btw, but I do think it's a common misconception).

It's also super sweet to sit next to a spaceship console and diddle around all day.

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but aall im saying is that if you have ears you can tell my Casio VZ8 fm has bass bass is a shitload heavier than FM8. I don't know why. it sounds like there are little machines in there making it do shit

 

also yes a moog bass sounds "better" than Massive on most speakers

Edited by vamos scorcho
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analog synths are usually fun to tweak away, as mentioned.. also they have the classic synth sound..

culturally they are more closely situated towards things like guitars & pedals, have more of a pop-cultural history... whereas digital synths have more of a nerdy image..

 

so analog stuff definitely has its place & obviously won't go away.

digital stuff, where the signal processing is done by algorithms which can be modified at will by re-programmering, imo has more of a arbitrary-ness to it.... this is inherent in all computery stuff, and while not everyone understands this notion, it certainly finds its way into cultural perception.... this results in beliefs of real-ness of analog vs. virtual-ness of digital, and is often irrationally mashed up like potato in the head.

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at the end of the day, everything comes out analogue

this is a good point

i had a similar realization once upon digging out some of my old highschool tracks, & noting how vastly different they sounded played in a different environment, on different speakers, and most importantly, to a listener altered by several more years of life experience. Not only are all sounds unique, but all instances of a sound are unique & different to each individual perceiving them. something something living in the moment

 

vaguely related: sometimes it's nice to listen to sparse music at barely audible levels, & allow whatever ambient sounds are in the area inform the experience.

 

but on topic tho, korg wavestation is the business, and I'm told the vst version is one of those rare cases where the emulation is agreed to be superior to the original. More sounds, more controls, omg why are u still reading go grab that shit & make some early 90s video game music

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